Profile: American comedian Bill Burr

Profile: American comedian Bill Burr

He's not the new Louis CK, he's a very naughty boy

Name: Bill Burr

Born: 1968, Massachusetts, US

Where do I know him from?
If you’re a Breaking Bad fan, you may recognise him as Patrick Kuby, one of Saul Goodman’s associates – he first crops up in season four. Or perhaps, as a video game fanatic, you’ll recognise his no-nonsense northeast accent from the world of Grand Theft Auto – he voiced biker gang member Jason Michaels in GTAIV and subsequent spin-off The Lost and Damned. His main occupation, though, is stand-up comedian – he’s well regarded as one of those ‘comedian’s comedians’ you get nowadays.

Oh, you mean like Lou-
Yeah, let’s get that out of the way sharpish – he’s no stranger to Louis CK comparisons. Rolling Stone went so far as to use the headline, ‘The New Louis CK’, on a profile of him. Burr’s response was atypically deferential: ‘I feel bad for Louis. I think I owe him an apology. I don’t know why they wrote that. I think it’s like, “Uh, he’s a balding redhead. I think they’re the same thing.” … I don't like how they're talking about him like he's not the king. He's the king.’

You say ‘atypically’ deferential?
Burr isn’t known for mincing words. At a 2006 comedy festival in Philadelphia, Burr, unhappy with the way the crowd had booed and heckled the other acts on the bill, used his entire 12 minute section to berate the city on all fronts. Highlights included his takedowns of the local NFL team (the Philadelphia Eagles), the local high-fat cuisine (Philly cheesesteaks), fictional sporting icons (Rocky Balboa), items of historical significance (the Liberty bell)... pretty much everything. ‘Do you have a soccer team? It’s all I got left.’ Apparently, tough love was what the audience was after, and Burr left the stage to rousing applause.

So the whole angry man shtick is working out for him then?
Oh, definitely. Aside from his weekly podcast and healthy Twitter following (275k+), clips of Burr’s appearances on other TV shows (especially Conan) are pretty popular on YouTube, and he was recently been profiled in GQ, Huffington Post and The New York Times in addition to the Rolling Stone piece.

Where can I see him next?
He’s on tour in the UK and Europe at the moment, but if you miss those dates, he’s got three films coming up in 2014: horror comedy Zombeavers, Kevin Costner drama Black and White and straight-up comedy Walk of Shame, alongside fellow comics Tig Notaro and Kevin Nealon.

Bill Burr, O2 Academy, Wed 4 Dec.

Bill Burr

  • 3 stars

Sharp and opinionated humour from the American stand-up.

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