What does it mean to be JUST A GUY?
--A guy doesn't think before he speaks.
--Eating and sleeping always come first. Always.
--A guy may get married, but he doesn't have to like it.
--It's tough to admit, but all guys are exactly the same.
Blue Collar Comedy Star Bill Engvall is JUST A GUY. He's been one his whole life. He can't help it. He was born that way. And that makes him an expert on the subject.
For the record, here's the official definition of a guy: A person who doesn't think before he speaks. He can't. He's not that deep. Because a guy has only three basic needs: eating, sleeping, and sex. That's it. JUST A GUY chronicles a lifetime in pursuit of those needs.
In this hilarious and heartfelt memoir, Bill Engvall takes you on the rollicking ride of his life, beginning with his childhood in Texas and adolescence in Arizona, becoming a fixture in local emergency rooms, the result of massive amounts of non-thinking behavior trying to impress girls or torture his sisters; to high school in Dallas where he dabbled in an array of truly odd jobs, learned the trombone, and came of age, all strangely connected; to college and his tenure as his fraternity's social chairman, where he masterminded a series of legendary parties and attempted to rescue his pet bird while the house was burning down (not his fault, honest); to following his dream as a standup comic and, gulp, singer; to his brief stint in children's theater while sharing the stage and the back of a van with the director's dog, and as a movie extra with forked tongue and cloth claws; to his bumbling and riotous courtship, then marriage to Gail, the love of his life; and, finally, fatherhood, where he remains, to this day, a well-meaning, but flawed parent.
Through it all, Bill gamely stumbles along, struggling to maintain a facade of confidence and control. Far from a superhero, Bill Engvall is an everyday Everyman, the poster boy for normal. The result is JUST A GUY who is disarming, perceptive, wildly funny, and unexpectedly moving.
JUST A GUY will make you laugh out loud and tug at your heart.
Hopefully, not at the same time.
In this rather bland attempt at the humorous sensitive-man memoir that seems to be a prerequisite for a certain type of middle-aged comic (e.g., Cosby, Reiser, Romano), Engvall tries to cram his whole life into one book rather than stick to one theme (marriage, fatherhood, etc.). The end result is 46 micro-chapters that never really deliver the same laughs that have made him a part of the successful Blue Collar comedy quartet. But there is interesting material: Engvall reminisces about starting at the bottom of the entertainment business, first as a stand-in and extra on movie sets and later playing chauffeur to some of the biggest names of comedy. But these tales are given short shrift so Engvall can focus on his childhood love of baseball, his favorite car as a teenager and his partying a lot in college. In the end, Engvall realizes that "all guys are the same," and that's why the sensitive parts of the book--Engvall's parents' divorce or the pain of leaving his family to go on the road--are the ones that truly stand out. (May)
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Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . A Charming and Heartwarming Tale From Just a Guy
Posted May 15, 2010 by Daniel , City of New YorkAt it's core, "Just a Guy" is a series of short stories about a comedian's life, from childhood up through middle age. Unlike many comedy books, this one doesn't strive to hit you with jokes or strange stories on every page, its humor is more subtle and endearing. There are moments where I chuckled at the weirdness of it all and there were times I felt empathy with what he and his family is going through. The book is a light read and the narrative isn't difficult to follow, nor does it require any analysis by the reader. Overall, I enjoyed the book. There wasn't much substance, but the tales and the storytelling were charming and Engvall has a way of making you feel and understand what he went through.
St. Martin's Press
May 28, 2007
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Excerpt from Just a Guy by Bill Engvall
Welcome to the story of my life.
Let's start with the basics.
Like who am I?
Oh, I know you know that I'm the comedian who came up with "Here's Your Sign" and that I'm a member of the cast of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Blue Collar TV. I'm the one who's not Jeff, Ron, or Larry the Cable Guy. Yeah. That one. That's me.
But who am I really?
That's what I'm about to tell you. I'm a little nervous because I know what's coming. I'm about to reveal some stuff that's very personal, a little bit embarrassing, and sometimes kind of strange. I think there's a decent chance you'll chuckle once or twice. You might even tear up. Hopefully not at the same time.
Now, a couple things you should know about me before we get started.
First, I'm unbelievably normal. Unlike many comedians and serial killers, which my dad considers the same thing, I don't come from a screwed-up, crazy family. I was never smacked around, molested, or locked in a fruit cellar. Sorry. I'm pretty much the boy next door, the kid riding his bike down the street, the guy on the other side of the classroom. Okay, I'm the one with the chalk up my nose, but only because the teacher's putting me to sleep and I'm trying to amuse myself until the bell rings. So that's me. You know me well. You've hung out with me after school, gone to the movies with me, played ball against me--and if you're a girl, you've probably ignored me.
The second thing you need to know is that I'm a guy. Been one my whole life, which makes me an expert on the subject. As my wife, Gail, says, "You've been doing research for almost fifty years." True. My lab is my life.
So let me clear something up right here. This might shake your world if you're a woman, but I can't help it. This is an indisputable scientific fact:
All guys are the same.
Doesn't matter if you teach college or drive a forklift. A guy is a guy. Nothing we can do about it. Now, in case you're not a guy, here's the dictionary definition:
A person who doesn't think before he speaks.
We just don't. We can't. Our brains are not wired to think. The truth is we're not that deep.
A guy has only three basic needs: eating, sleeping, and sex. That's it. That's our whole day. I know a lot of women don't believe it, but it's true. If you see a guy thinking really hard, chances are two of his basic needs have been met and he's trying to figure out how to take care of number three.
"I ate, I slept . . . where can I get me some sex?"
The one thing we've got going for us is that we have an excuse when we do something dumb. If Gail catches me doing something lame, which has happened occasionally in the twenty-four years of our marriage, I'll just look at her and shrug.
"Sorry, honey, I'm just a guy."
Part of being a guy is that I don't care about the same things my wife does. Like balancing the checkbook. She reconciles it every month, and if it's off by one penny, she'll get out the calculator and go through the check register until she finds it. With me, if it's within a hundred bucks, cool, it's balanced. Next problem.
Sometimes being a guy makes us vulnerable. For one thing, the marketing people are on to us. They know we're guys, and they take advantage of us. It ticks me off. I know there's nothing I can do about it, but I try to fight my little battles by letting them know that I know what they're doing.
Like taking advantage of how we smell.
Let me ask a profound question.
What is the difference between cologne and aftershave? Take a moment.
Give up? I'll tell you.
There is no freaking difference.
Same stuff, different bottle. It's just marketing. It's like the difference between a comb and a brush. Which is? Not that much. They both do the same thing: move your hair from front to back, back to front, and back again.
What's amazing is that somehow we've been duped into buying both cologne and aftershave. Because as a group, guys just ain't that particular about grooming. My day is not ruined if I don't get a shower right off the bat. I can work out, come back, and shower later. Gail doesn't get this.
"How can you not shower? You just worked out."
"Well, yeah, but the sweat's dry."
I don't need to shower to go out to lunch. I'll just throw a ball cap on and go. Gail cannot be that spontaneous. If I say, "Hey, let's go out for lunch," she's lost.
"Now? I haven't done my hair."
"Put a ball cap on. Let's go."
"You look great. Come on."
Naw, it ain't happening. It just can't. The first clue is inside the medicine cabinet. Just check out the difference between a woman's medicine cabinet and a guy's. I've got shaving cream, my razor, toothpaste, and cologne. That's it. Gail's got facial washes, powders, makeup, creams, hair sprays, mousses, gels, and body lotions. CVS has less stuff. It's astonishing. She always looks good and smells good, and I swear it's natural. To me, she doesn't need anything added to go out. But she feels she's gotta do a makeover to go out and get a sandwich.