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Bill Engvall

Cheap Drunk: An Autobiography – 2002 (Warner)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Bill Engvall

Bill Engvall delivers a consistently amusing live set that mines hard chuckles from largely family-oriented humor. Right out of the box he puckishly announces, "My wife collects twist ties. Welcome to my world!" Working quickly, the comic weaves some funny tales about attending parent-teacher conferences and driver's education classes ("Yellow means speed up and then check the mirror for cops"). When the comic adopts roles as both hung-up parent and smart-ass baby-boomer, Engvall's powers as a monologist peak.

However, once the 45-year-old Texan wanders into stories of painkillers and vacations in the Bahamas, the laughs die down. Cannily, Engvall switches back to his family life ("After 20 years of marriage, you'll pick a fight so they'll sleep in the other room"). After uttering a threat every father dreams of using on his teenage daughter's hormone-crazed suitor ("BoyčI have no problem going back to prison"), Engvall closes with crowd-pleasing variations of his famous "Here's Your Sign" routine.

The two musical tracks, "Rich, Fat, and Ugly" and "I'm A Cheap Drunk" are less funny - Jim Stafford did this type of thing better, but are sure to garner some airplay. The live portion, containing Engvall's quirky everyman observations, makes this one worth hearing.