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The Real Reason We Don't Hear From Bill Engvall Much Anymore

Bill Engvall had a huge pop culture and comedy moment. For a few years, he was part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour alongside other Southern-based, largely family-friendly comics like Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy. He's also one of the few comedians to ever spawn a massively popular catchphrase—and a plethora of merchandise to go along with it—with his "Here's your sign" bit. (He thought stupid people should have to carry around a sign that said "I'm stupid.") He even had his own sitcom on TBS, The Bill Engvall Show, which launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence. We don't hear from Bill Engvall as much as we did, say, a decade ago, so here's how he's been keeping busy.

He divides his time between California, Utah, and Texas

Engvall and his wife, Gail, (his two children are grown and out of the house) live most of the time in Los Angeles to be close to the entertainment industry, but they also have a home in Park City, Utah, a resort town and site of the annual Sundance Film Festival. But Engvall says it's his wife who will fly up friends and see a bunch of movies at that preeminent festival. He prefers to cut out to their third home, a 400-acre ranch in his home state of Texas. There, he relaxes by tending to the ranch's cattle and driving around an old farm truck he spent a fortune on to restore and spruce up.

He makes a lot of religious movies

The world of movies is huge, and with so many new and easy methods of distribution, niche genres can find their audience and potentially do a nice business. One of those segments: faith-based films. As proven by the success of Tyler Perry and films like God's Not Dead, there's a significant segment of the population who want their entertainment to reflect (and reflect on) their religious worldview. Many of the movies that Engvall has been involved with in the past few years have been direct-to-home-video, inspirational ones. For example, Engvall has co-starred in the football drama Catching Faith and the holiday movie Wish for Christmas.

But he's also doing horror movies

Conversely, Engvall is actively stretching his acting muscles and looking for projects that are way outside of his comfort zone. In 2016, he took on a role in the indie horror film The Neighbor, directed by Saw IV and Saw V writer Marcus Dunstan. Engvall thought it would be a "blast to do something so different" in playing the very, very bad titular character. "There's no comedy in it. I'm used to being the goofy, sitcom-like dad. My first scene on the set was me beating a guy to death with a butt of a shotgun, so there was no dipping your toes in the water."

He starred in an animated series

In 2013, CMT debuted its second-ever scripted series, and first animated one, with Bounty Hunters. Along with his old Blue Collar Comedy Tour-mates Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy, Engvall executive produced the series about a sketchy bounty hunting business in a fictional Southern town called Skeeter Creek. Engvall voiced a criminal profiler, drawn to look exactly like him, who was named Bill.

Dancing with the Stars roughed him up

Engvall competed on the 17th season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars in 2013. Engvall did very well—he made it all the way to the end of the contest, and ultimately finished in fourth place. Engvall was also surprised, not so much with his dancing abilities, but with the reaction to the show. He says the response from fans and people on the street has been "like 10-fold" versus everything else he's ever done. "It's one of those things I never saw coming." What Engvall also didn't see coming: Dancing with the Stars wrecked his body. After the show, he had to undergo knee replacement surgery—during which doctors discovered a kidney stone—and then he developed shingles. "It's one of the most brutal things I've ever done in my life," Engvall said.

He's big on the professional bull riding circuit

No, Engvall isn't out there taming a bucking bronco...at least not yet. The comedian has a long working relationship with Professional Bull Riders (PBR), the top level of bull riding. He's been an official sponsor of riders, including champion Michael Gaffney, and has partnered with owners of other bulls. He was so involved that two of the bulls, competing in different sides of the country, were named after Engvall's signature bit: Here's Your Sign-East and Here's Your Sign-West. Engvall has also performed in Las Vegas during the weekend of the annual PBR World Finals.

He flies with the Angels

When Engvall was a kid, his father took him and his family on a vacation to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. A taxi driver gave the Engvalls free tickets to a California Angels baseball game, and that got him hooked. "I've been an Angel fan my whole life, and it all started that night because the team was so bad that they were giving tickets away," Engvall said. When he's in California, he still gets to as many Angels games as possible. He's such a huge and high-profile fan of the team (now known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) that he wrote a forward for a book written by Tami Butcher, the wife of the team's pitching coach, and from 2011 to 2013, he was Fox Sports West's official Angels blogger.

He still does a ton of live shows

Stand-up comedy is a grind, but it's a calling nonetheless. Engvall did hundreds of comedy shows before he got famous, and now, after his widespread popularity has calmed down a bit...he's still doing comedy. His time on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour won him a lot of fans, many of whom are still very interested in going to see him live. Engvall still plays many shows each year, primarily in casinos and large theaters across the U.S. He's still making specials, too. In 2015, Netflix released his latest, Just Sell Him for Parts.