Fun with Rednecks

Redneck Bill Engvall

If you've got your paternity narrowed down to Bubba, Jed and Uncle Jethers, you might be a redneck. If you think the slogan "Guns, God and guts" is listed by order of importance, then you're a redneck, no doubt about it. But if your name is Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White or Craig Hawksley, then you're probably part of The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, the biggest thing to hit the trailer-park circuit since beer drinkin' and coed competitive cow-tippin'.

Thanks to his trademark (and, at times, constricting) redneck material, a hugely successful book (No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!) and high-profile but unsuccessful stabs at TV sitcoms, Foxworthy is the star here with his gentle but all-too-true observations on white-trash culture. Listen to most any of his depictions of Denny's-eatin' folk, and you'll probably know at least one person who fits the description. But despite the aw-shucks persona and authentic Southern drawl, Foxworthy is no idjit; he is a skilled stand-up with a keen sense of timing. Although he'd rather follow the career course of ex-stand-ups Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld than the narrow-shtick route that imprisoned Andrew "Dice" Clay, the supremely disciplined Georgia boy has managed to expand his one joke into a miniature multimedia empire.

With his ubiquitous presence on CMT and TNN, Galveston native Bill Engvall taps into the same humorous vein, albeit more the country music/NASCAR race-fan set than the beer-can-shooting/porch-squatting faction. (Yes, there is a fine distinction.) He scored a huge hit with the song "Here's Your Sign," which spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart in 1996. On TV he had supporting roles on the sitcoms Designing Women and Delta, as well as on Foxworthy's show.

Anticipating a huge audience for laughing with -- and at -- the trailer-park crowd, the producers have booked the tour for a two-night stand at the Aerial Theater. If they stock the concession stands with any of them fancy imported suds, let's hope they have plenty of single-packet portions of Red Man on hand to placate the crowd.

The Blue Collar Comedy Tour is Friday, March 24, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 25, at 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Aerial Theater. Tickets are $29.50 and $37.50. Call (713)629-3700 for more information.

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