Three clean comics to fill SLC arena with laughs
One of the differences between comedians Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall is that Engvall owns a home in Park City and Foxworthy doesn't.
"I come every year to ski [in Park City] on winter break," Foxworthy said. "I can use Bill's, so I don't have to buy one."
In fact, there are plenty of differences between the two, but they agree on one thing, Engvall said in an interview: "Respect your audience," he said. "Anyone can come to our shows."
The clean comics are returning to Utah just weeks after vacationing here, and they're bringing along Larry the Cable Guy. Just don't call it the Blue Collar Tour, which is how the three were billed as they toured arenas with friend Ron White. White isn't around this time, Foxworthy said, because "Ron is a lot bluer than us. He didn't want to have to write 30 minutes of clean material."
Foxworthy, Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy have built their reputations on sharp, family-friendly material that often veers toward the line between "clean" and "dirty" humor but never crosses it.
Foxworthy, the host of the show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?," built a career that originally relied heavily on redneck jokes. Now he's become something of a name brand with best-selling books to his credit as well as becoming the largest-selling comedy recording artist in history.
Engvall is the host of "Country Fried Home Videos," one of the most-watched shows on Country Music Television (CMT), after finding popularity with his best-selling comedy album "Here's Your Sign."
Larry the Cable Guy has become an in-demand comedian noted for his catchphrase "Git-R-Done."
While Engvall cautions that the show is "not 'Disney on Ice,' " he's proud that the tour offers three perspectives on the everyday absurdities of life while not delving into crudeness.
When Foxworthy and Engvall started performing together, they would joke about "picking up hot girls at the bar." Now, he said, recently Engvall and he were trying out new bits of material on each other and found they were comparing colonoscopy stories.
Observational stories like that are why people can relate, Engvall said. "People always want to come backstage," he said. "There's no open bar, no naked chicks running around. It's just us three with deli meats and cheeses."
Each of the three comics offers a 30-minute set, but they claim the highlight of the show is when they come onstage together. "That was always my favorite part of the Blue Collar Tour," Foxworthy said. "It was inspired by 'The Carol Burnett Show,' where they enjoyed each other and tried to make the others laugh."
It sparks each comedian to be on his "A" game, Engvall said, as they compete good-naturedly for laughs. "You're always happy for your brothers, as long as they do as well as you," Engvall said. He paused, before adding with a laugh, "But not better."
Still seeking blue-collar laughs
Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy are touring together, although it's not billed as the Blue Collar tour.
When • Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m.
Where • EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tonight • $25 to $57 at SmithsTix
What Bill Engvall loves about Utah
The hunting, fishing, skiing: "Utah has everything I love"
The warm weather in the summer, as "the less clothes I have, the better"
The "Man v. Food" episode filmed in Salt Lake City; he still wants to try the Hellfire Challenge at Kobe Sushi