Image: Bill Engvall
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“Think of a Corona ad, and look a little to the left of that chair and you’ll see me on that beach. Most likely with a Corona,” comedian Bill Engvall says of his favorite destinations.
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Special to msnbc.com
updated 10/3/2007 10:14:51 AM ET 2007-10-03T14:14:51

Comedian and Texas native Bill Engvall found a niche in working-class America when his debut album, “Here’s Your Sign,” came out in 1996, went platinum, and stayed in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Comedy chart for 15 straight weeks. Since then, he’s moved to Los Angeles, landed a spot on the Blue Collar Comedy tour with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy, and scored his own TV sitcom, “The Bill Engvall Show,” which airs on TBS. So how does a regular family guy — he’s married with two children — travel? We caught up with Engvall to find out.

Q:You’re so busy these days, but when you get a few days off, do you get the chance to go anywhere?

A: Well, I have to say I’m pretty fortunate. I’ve got two places — one in Park City (Utah) and a ranch in Texas — so we just usually go to those places. Gail (his wife) is the reason for it all, too. She’s done such a great job of managing my business. Left to my own vices, all I would own is a Corvette, and it would be broken down.

Q: So those are your getaway places. What are your favorite vacation destinations?

A: Put it this way. Think of a Corona ad, and look a little to the left of that chair and you’ll see me on that beach. Most likely with a Corona. We like the islands, the warm beaches. The Bahamas, Tahiti, really any spot in the Caribbean is fine with me.

Q: What was the best vacation you ever had?

A: This year, for my 50th birthday, my wife rented a 120-foot yacht and invited three other couples and we cruised the Bahamas for six days. The captain took us to islands that weren’t even on maps and we had five crew members who waited on us hand and foot. Four bedrooms, a wicked sound system, a hot tub ... it was awesome.

Q: Any dream trips you’d like to take someday?

A: I’d like to see the Amazon rainforests before they’re all gone, and also the Galapagos — that’s another one I’d like to do. I’d love to go diving in those areas. Basically, places like that are kind of going away and I’d like to see them before they all become condos and high-rises.

Q: Give us a good recent story from your travels.

A: I was in Chicago doing a press tour for the new show and I got to O’Hare and my flight had been canceled. As I’m on the phone trying to get a new flight, people start asking me for autographs. Then a security person grabs me and pulls me aside. I’m wondering what’s going on and he says, “I didn’t really want to go through your bag, I just wanted to say I’m a big fan.”

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Q: You’ve made your mark as an American everyman comic. Have you ever been to Europe?

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings A: I have. My daughter studied in France, and we visited her there. We had a great time. We went to the Sacre Coeur (Basilica), which was amazing. Europe has such an expansive history. In America, we make a big deal out of a 200-year-old cabin. My favorite thing in France was to sit at one of those outdoor cafes, drink red wine and eat ham and cheese sandwiches.

Q: I’m sure you did whatever you could to dispel the “Ugly American” myth, right?

A: Yeah, right. I don’t know any French, so I had to fake my way through it, and it didn’t really work. They had that look on their faces that said, “Please, sir, just say it in English.” And my daughter was staying with a family that didn’t speak any English. She spoke with them in French, and she was probably saying, “My dad’s a jackass,” for all I know.

Q: What do you absolutely make sure to pack when you travel?

A: I travel fairly lightly because you have to these days. I always take a laptop and an iPod so I can watch movies and listen to music. And my Gameboy. That’s a good time-killer.

Q: Your wife is OK with you playing a Gameboy in public at the age of 50?

A: Yeah. She’s fine with it. She knows she’s got a big kid for a husband.

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