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Bill Engvall

Now That's Awesome – 2000 (BNA)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Bill Engvall

Give Bill Engvall credit. He realizes that he can't keep rehashing the "Here's Your Sign" routine. That was the mistake he made on his second CD "Dorkfish," and he must have gotten a glimpse of the catch-phrase hell that ensnared his buddy Jeff Foxworthy. Unfortunately, his audience on this mostly-live CD is not quite so prescient. You can feel them waiting for the familiar routine, and they save their loudest applause and biggest laughs for the "here's your sign" bit that Engvall closes the live portion of the album with.

Which is too bad because it's not the funniest stuff here. The story about trying to track down narrow pads for his daughter is funnier. The story about the family vacation where Engvall - under the influence of the Crocodile Hunter TV show - thinks he sees a snake in the campground bathroon and completely embarrasses himself trying to escape is much funnier. Engvall is at his best discussing what he loves most - his family. He's also good going off on what ticks him off - which is just about everything in modern life from nose rings to Starbucks.

He's at his worst when he tries stronger measures to distance himself from "signs(." The title track is an attempt to create a new catch phrase. And he's right; the word "awesome" has been misused so long it's lost its meaning. And the events he describes are more deserving of the title. However, true ain't necessarily funny."Shoulda Shut Up" one of two musical numbers here is just Bill talking about the many times he's put his foot in his mouth - sort of "Here's My Sign"