October 10, 2012
The Blue Collar Comedy dude Bill Engvall is coming to Phoenix this week and The Arizona Republic interviewed him. Turns out he grew up in Winslow and remembers Route 66 being a big part of his youth. This got me to thinking: is there a humor vortex that runs along the northern Arizona corridor?
I am from Kingman and grew up working in my father's Flying A gas station. Virtually all my friends were, and are, quite funny. Marshall Trimble is from Ashfork. Radio legend, Don Imus spent part of his youth on a ranch near Seligman, Ted Danson, of Cheers fame, grew up in Flagstaff and now it turns out Bill Engvall is from Winslow. All of these towns are on old Route 66.
When I asked my Kingman compadres if this somehow explains our demented sense of humor, Dan The Man Harshberger blamed it on the chemtrails and Charlie Waters blamed his sense of humor on Alex Suthogomie (a Hualapai who pounded us all good in the cafeteria). But, it was Trudy Peart Burris who nailed it: "Twisted rubs off."
Ha. I'll buy that.
"My grandmother was really, really funny. For her 50th anniversary she made my granddad buy a new suit. He had to go to Neiman Marcus and get it altered. And then he died, and he was buried in the suit. Everyone told her not to say he had died when strangers called but just say he can't come to the phone or he's in the shower. So one fella called every week for six weeks and she recognized his voice and asked: "You know, you've called every week for six weeks, can I ask what this is regarding?
"Ma'am," he said, "I'm from Neiman Marcus, and I just want to make sure your husband is enjoying his new suit.
"Well, I didn't want to lie to him," she said, "so I just said, 'We can't get it off him.'"
—Bill Engvall, Winslow boy brings The Funny