“A good story is always something wrong, you know? That’s why nice people are so damn boring. I mean, they’re nice, but their stories suck.”
Today’s stand-up comedy scene is largely built on certain recurring topics, specifically, race, gender, shock humor and profanity. Many of today’s stand-up comedians focus on one or two of these topics much more than the rest. However, there is one man who has the ability to successfully blend all three of these aspects together into one solid act. American comedian, writer and actor Bill Burr, well-known for his four stand-up comedy specials: Bill Burr: Why Do I Do This? (2008), Let it Go (2010), You People Are All the Same (2012) and I’m Sorry You Feel That Way (2014), has been called “one of the funniest, most distinctive voices in the country for years” by The New York Times. He’s also been dubbed “the undisputed heavyweight champ of rage-fueled humor” by Rolling Stone “a cynic and a contrarian who has never paid any heed to political correctness” according to Montreal Gazette and referred to as a “a comedian’s comedian” by observers of the U.S. stand-up comedy circuit. Burr, knowing himself better than any other media source, offers a most accurate Burr-description, such as “that loud guy in the bar with uninformed logic” and “the ‘dude, bro’ guy”. No matter the source of claims describing Burr’s stand-up material (which consists of various topics such as dating, self-depreciation, race relations, political correctness, gender equality, professional sports, religion and even climate change), one thing all can agree on is that Burr will not leave audiences disappointed.
Burr was never an overnight sensation; his success happened gradually. Although this Canton, Massachusetts-born comedian’s career began in 1992. It took about 14 years before he began earning the praise he deserves. The catalyst of this dramatic launch in his career was the “semi-famous incident” at Opie and Anthony Traveling Virus Comedy Tour in Philadelphia in 2006. This night, the Philly crowd was cutting no slack for any stand-up comedians performing who were performing. Prior to Burr’s set, he had witnessed several comedians, including friends of his, being booed by the mercilessly hostile audience. When it was time for Burr (who was the comedian of the night) to go up onstage, the audience began to boo him through the first portion of his set just as they did the previous comedians. Burr then decided to abandon his rehearsed material and unleashed a profanity-filled, “profanity-laced tirade…turning from observational comic to insult comic at the drop of a hat.” Burr spent the rest of his 12-minute time slot ripping the audience apart and telling them how much he hated them. As he insulted the city of Philadelphia and its citizens, Burr demonstrated his knowledge of city with many references to historic events, public figures and stereotypes. During this rant, which was captured on video, the audience’s boos and jeers can be heard turning to cheers as they seemed to appreciate the “wit and cleverness Burr display[ed]”, despite the insults. This 12-minute moment onstage actually turned out to be a special moment for Burr, as it defined who he is as a comedian.
Burr’s filmography continues to become more and more extensive, from the infrequent appearances he made on Chappelle’s Show in 2003 to his role as recurring character Patrick Kuby on Breaking Bad (2011-2013) to writing and starring his new Netflix animated series, F is for Family. The new series, produced and distributed by Gaumont International Television and Wild West Films and written by Burr (who also provides the voice for the show’s main character Frank Murphy) is based on Burr’s childhood growing up in the 1970s. The show is raunchy, hilarious, and isn’t afraid to push boundaries. You can watch entire first season of F is for Family on Netflix now.