Bill Engvall and wife Gail by Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
Hey everyone. Well now that we have covered pretty much all there is to making a sitcom over the last three weeks, I thought that I would tell you how dreams do come true. When I was a young man living in Winslow, Arizona, one of my favorite pastimes was to go to the Tonto drive-in with my father. We would sit there in his Ford pick-up with a big bag of home-popped popcorn. (Why should we pay for theirs when we could pop our own and put as much butter on it as we wanted?) Anyway, he and I would sit there and watch
Sons of Katie Elder
. As I would sit there watching the Duke beat the snot out of the bad guys, I would think "Man I want to be an actor someday." Of course back in those days you didn't tell your father that you wanted to be an actor, because a) he would not have known what to say, and b) where was he going to get me any training in Winslow? The only department store we had was a Montgomery Wards catalogue outlet. That's right, if we wanted clothes we had to order them.
So my dreams of being an actor for the time being went out the window. When I was in college I dabbled in community theatre but I am sure that the only reason I got a role was because the woman who was producing the plays was older and I was younger. (Think Mrs. Robinson,
, older woman, younger man. You get the idea.) So I still had no training as a skilled actor.
After I got married my beautiful wife and I moved to Los Angeles. By this time I was doing stand-up full time but I still thought that anyone who wanted to be an actor could just be an actor. I got my first audition for a sitcom. Now I should let you know at this juncture that my wife was eight months pregnant with our first child, we had rented a house that we could not afford and I still had no training as an actor. So I had my wife rehearse the scene with me, I thought it went very well. I was to find out years later that after we finished reading the scene I walked outside and my wife started crying. Her thought process was, "What have we done, I am eight months pregnant and he can't act his way out of a paper bag!" Normally I would have been offended by this comment, but she was right. So in her own sweet way she convinced me to go to acting classes.
Finally I was being trained as an actor. Now came my first experience to sit in with other wannabes. It was different, I will say that. There was a wide range of talent from those whom you watched and thought, "Wow, I am going to see him or her at the Oscars, to those who you thought would have a tough time reading a menu at McDonalds.
I got my first acting job without even having to audition. It was for
and they were looking for someone with a Southern accent - bingo!!!! I was the man. The part was so small the character didn't even have a name, I was just "Hey guy in the red shirt, move over next to
." I didn't care though, I was an actor!! Several guest-star parts followed after that on different shows.
Flash forward to July of 2007. TBS calls and says that they want to do a sitcom with me called of all things
The Bill Engvall Show
. So here I sit writing a blog for TVGuide.com and talking about my own sitcom. So if you don't believe that dreams can come true, I am living proof that they can. I honestly believe that if you really want something and are willing to put up with what it takes to make it, there is no dream too big. I can vouch for that.
Take care and I hope that you enjoy
The Bill Engvall Show