These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous "insiders." After a while, it's easy to forget that stars are real people. That's why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch its all-new #nofilter quick-fire question-and-answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they've shared their guiltiest pleasures?
Bill Engvall is one of the best damn 'blue collar' comedians you'll find in these parts. The "Dancing With the Stars" alum was on his way to becoming a household name soon after teaming up with Blue Collar Comedy pals Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White and Jeff Foxworthy -- circa 2000 -- where they took their act on the road, quickly becoming the hippest rednecks in North America.
Engvall's album "Here's Your Sign" is certified platinum and his second album "Dorkfish," landed at the No. 1 position on the Billboard Comedy Chart. The 56-year-old comedian even got his own TV show "The Bill Engvall Show" (2007--2009) on TBS where he hired a then unknown, future Academy Award-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence, who played his teenage daughter, Lauren Pearson.
Engvall braved the balmy warm weather out west while agreeing to sit down and take HuffPost's #nofilter challenge. While we had his attention (prior to the quiz), we asked about his courageous stint on Season 17 of "Dancing With The Stars" -- with dancing pro Emma Slater (he finished fourth) -- and his time on set with that little superstar, JLaw.
I loved you on "Dancing with the Stars." How much fun was that for you?
It was a blast. As I told Emma, my little dance partner, "I didn't want to like it as much as I did." It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I will tell you that it's the most addictive thing and I actually miss it believe it or not -- even through all the aches and pains and pulled groins. It was something that was so far out of my comfort zone. It taught me that when life puts a challenge in front of you, don't necessarily back away from it because it may be something that you didn't see.
How much pressure did you feel each week on the results show? I noticed each week when you were saved, there was this shocked look on your face.
I would say that after about week five every time Emma and I got pushed forward my reaction was, "Hey. Oh God. Really? Can we not recount?" (Laughs) Honestly, after week two I didn't feel any pressure at all because I had already achieved what I thought I could do.
Did you ever hold out hope that you could win that Mirror Ball Trophy?
I honestly think I had a shot to win it. I'm glad Amber Riley won. It actually played out the way it should have because getting knocked out the first night of the finals was perfect because I was actually done. Literally my body was saying there's just no more in the tank. Because it was 13 weeks of six hours-a-day without a day off.
In one of the taped packages, I laughed out loud when they ran the piece where Emma had her legs wrapped around your neck. The look on your face was priceless.
The thing was she kept wanting to do all these tricks and I was like, "I don't know if I can do them." So we did this one and when they showed the footage, my friend's like "Dude, what's your wife think?" I go "Please! Emma is younger than my daughter." (Laughs) It was like she had a lot more energy and flexibility than I did. My only thought was just don't drop her. Don't do anything to hurt her. So that's why the look on my face was like, "Oh, let's just get through this."
The last time I interviewed you, you were in the middle of "The Bill Engvall Show." You told me at the time: "If it gets canceled, I will be devastated." Shows get canceled every day so when your show was axed, how did you take it?
It hurt because I felt like if this show had been on five years earlier, I'd be in syndication. The week that it got canceled I had talked to TBS and they had said we're going to announce that we're going to shoot 75 more and be in syndication. Literally the next day, the market went crazy and the bottom dropped out. In syndication, the biggest buyers are car dealerships. When they got hit, there was nobody buying syndication, so I literally was one day from being in syndication.
Jennifer Lawrence played your teenage daughter.
Yeah, bless her little heart. All the interviews she did, she always gave me credit. In fact, when she was on the Barbara Walters special just recently somebody called me and said, "Hey, Jennifer Lawrence said you gave her her first job." And I said, "Well we did." She was one of those I knew we weren't going to be able to hold her very long. We were going to have to write the episode where she went off to college because you just knew she was going to move on to bigger things.
Did you teach her everything she needed to know about acting?
(Laughs) No. That girl had it. And I hate that word, she had "it," but she really did.
When she won the Academy Award last year, how proud were you for her?
I couldn't have been more proud if she had been my own daughter. The thing I loved about Jenny and I still love is that she's just down to earth. I hope the business doesn't jade her because she's so genuine and I think that's what people love about her.
What's your guiltiest pleasure?
If you had only one choice, would you rather be the sexiest man in the world or the smartest?
I think I'd rather be the sexiest. I've learned in my older age that sexy gets you further than brains.
When was the last time you told a little white lie?
It was on "Dancing with the Stars." After I pulled my groin, the producer asked me if I was going to be able to go on and I didn't think I was, but I said, "You betcha."
What's the one thing you do when you're alone that you wouldn't do in front of anyone else?
Sing at the top of my lungs. When I'm in the car and a song comes on I like, I'm that guy.
What happens in your recurring dream?
I dream that I'm best buddies with the Clintons and Al Pacino is my best friend.
Is it okay to recline your seat in an airplane?
It depends on the airline. Southwest Airlines, no. But Delta, yes.
Finish this sentence: I'm funnier than ...
(Long pause) ... a root canal.
What TV show from the old days do you miss the most?
"The Andy Griffith Show." What's funny about that show is if you tried to sell that show today, they would look at you like you're an idiot.
Exactly. What I like about it is there were no sexual innuendos.
No ... not even between Andy and Miss Crump.
Finish this sentence: I start to feel old when I ...
... get out of bed in the morning.
What movie could you watch 10 times?
What's your biggest pet peeve when you're driving?
When I let people in and they don't wave.
What is the most overused word in the English language?
Selfie. I hate that word.
What would you not do for a million dollars?
The thing where people jump off cliffs and they have a parachute on their back ... base jumping!
What's the ugliest piece of clothing you own?
I know what it is because I've had it forever. It's a "Don't Worry, Be Happy" t-shirt.
What's the naughtiest thing on your bucket list?
Having sex in the White House.
Maybe in the Lincoln bedroom?
I just think it would be cool to say, "Yeah I did it in the White House."
Finish this sentence: I'm tired of hearing about ...
... the Kardashians.
Who's your favorite cartoon character?
Wile E. Coyote
The thing I hate doing most is ...
... running errands.
One last question ...
I'm actually loving this. I hate you giving me the last one.
If a man blatantly flirted with your wife in front of you, would you be polite and let it go or would you ask him to step outside?
I'd ask him to step outside. I wouldn't ask him. I'd just drag him.
Follow Pat Gallagher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@pat_gallagher