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Book Review: Just a Guy – Notes from a Blue Collar Life by Bill Engvall and Alan Eisenstock

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Out of all of the Blue Collar TV comedians, Bill Engvall has to be my favorite. Whether watching his stand-up shows on Comedy Central or his segments in the various Blue Collar movies, you’ll always find him talking about something just about everybody can relate to, not just rednecks like him. 

When I heard he was writing his memoirs, I was optimistically cautious. I’ve read these types of books by comedians before. Some have been funny, but others have definitely not been. As I began thumbing through Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life, I couldn’t help but smile at the types of stories he told and the funny, and at times earnest, way he told them.  

The book is broken down into 46 chapters, each five to 10 pages. Engvall covers range of topics you’d expect in a life story. These memories include scaring his younger sisters, playing little league, his parents’ divorce and his father’s remarriage, his fear of snakes (something I have in common with him and Indiana Jones), his academic career, joining a fraternity, doing extra work in movies, how he met his wife, his early stand-up experiences and many more.  

One of the things that Engvall stresses in this book is that he’s just a “normal” guy. I’m not a fan of the word normal in general, though I suppose we all have a standard idea of what that is. Through his stories, a retelling of the making of a comedian, you see Engvall as just that, a nice, normal guy who happens to be pretty funny.  

I really enjoyed reading Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life and I hope that he eventually writes another book. I’m sure he has plenty more stories to share that many people can somewhat relate to. In the meantime, I’ll be watching his new series, The Bill Engvall Show, on TBS. Some of the episodes are based on the stories in the book, which gives me a different perspective, I suppose. Either way, they’re funny. Bottom line: if you like Blue Collar TV or just looking for some good comedy, this is a great book to pick up. 

Grade A-

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  • Tupac is Alive

    Bill is mildly amusing. I wouldn’t ever pay a dime to read a book he wrote, though. I think I resent him because of his association with Larry the Cable Guy, who imo is the unfunniest POS on the planet.

    Jim Norton’s new book, Happy Endings, is a really funny read.

  • I have this sitting on my shelf right now and can’t wait to read it. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Blue Collar Comedy movies and specials, just because of the ‘normalcy’ of it. I’m a full-blooded Texan, so there are quite of a few of the stories and anecdotes Engvall tells that I and my family can relate to. Great review, Mr. Matthews! I’m looking forward to this read even more than I was before.