Interview with comedian Bill Burr
This past Thursday, Bill Burr was kind enough to take some time and talk about his upcoming performance in Dallas and new show on Netflix.
Bill Burr, a comedian who has performed across the country, is known for his brash and unapologetic comedy. He has a show coming up in Dallas at the Majestic Theater on Sept. 24 and his new show, “F is for Family,” premiers straight to Netlfix later this year. Here is what Burr had to say.
Campus Weekly: More recently you’ve been doing a lot more television and film. What was the transition to that like going from just stand up comedy?
Bill: Well, I mean, stand up you’re by yourself and it’s live and when you’re acting, unless you’re doing a monologue, you’re interacting with somebody else. Even if you’re doing a monologue you’re saying it to somebody and it’s not live so you can do it a few times.
CW: Your new show is premiering straight to Netflix and I was wondering if it’s different developing something on a platform like that rather than for just television or cable?
Bill: It’s been a dream to work with Netflix because they don’t have any pressure from advertisers. Actually they were telling us to push it further and I’ve never gotten a nod like that from anybody in the industry, so it’s been awesome to work with them. I’m very happy where we’re at.
CW: Your show is an animated program, so is it different working on the dynamic of not being around the cast as much versus a live action where you’re with everybody all the time?
Bill: It was definitely a different process but it was fun though, it had elements of doing my podcast where we were all in a booth with microphones joking around and stuff. It was definitely a fun process.
CW: Do you think you bring elements from the podcast and your stand up to your scripted things?
Bill: I would say the elements of hopefully knowing what’s funny and what isn’t.
CW: The show is based on your own life. Does that make it easier since there’s a lot to draw off, or difficult knowing there are other people that are going to be a part of it and what that’s like?
Bill: I enjoy collaborating with other people. I’m one of those guys like whatever the situation is, as long as people are cool and everybody is trying to be funny, I have a good time. I have fun doing movies, I’ve had fun doing the animated show, and I certainly have fun doing standup. Even that, even though it’s just me talking, it’s also interaction with the crowd.
CW: Is there a certain type of crowd you like to perform for, do you prefer the crowd that is more willing to interact or do you prefer the crowd that’s more ready to just watch the show and listen?
Bill: I like both. I don’t mind either one. Both of them are forms of listening to what I’m saying so I can’t ask for any more than that.
CW: When you’re doing your shows do you ever worry about saying something that may not be so politically correct and offending someone that you know personally? Because I know there’s that fear for comedians.
Bill: No that’s a media story. That’s just been totally exaggerated. There’s no fear. It’s just if one person says anything it becomes click bait and then they start talking about the comedy climate which is hilarious, so no. You know what it is? People are adults and they know they’re at a comedy show but every once in a while somebody isn’t an adult and then for some reason, you know, it’s lazy reporting. They’re trying to create this thing that isn’t happening. It’s not like people go in there and are just sitting with laptops open getting ready to blog about every stupid joke. They’re not, people go there and they came to see a comedy show and they go there to laugh and they do, and once every six months somebody b*****s and then they try to make that one person define the entire art of stand up comedy. There’s always been people like that. They just didn’t have twitter. And like I said, you guys in the media will treat the dumbest jack**s in the entire f***ng world like they won a Pulitzer prize for journalism and will put that level of weight on it, like they’re an ambassador to some country we’re trying to establish trade with.
CW: For aspiring comedians that are trying to attain a level of success, what are some of the tips that you would suggest?
Bill: For aspiring comedians? Don’t listen to me. Just go on stage and do what you think is funny. Don’t be a jerk to other comics and don’t let the business beat you down, stay positive and if you work your ass off you’re going to get somewhere.
CW: Is there ever a fear of being onstage and saying a joke and having it be a complete dud?
Bill: Well I mean, you never think that until it lands flat. Until you’re like ‘oh wow alright well I guess that didn’t work’ and that is usually funny to some level, if you honestly react to it. I think it gets uncomfortable when you try to act like you didn’t just tell a joke that bombed.
CW: What’s one of you most memorable moments on the road touring, any good stories?
Bill: I’ve had a great time on the road, I would say shooting guns with a silencer in Jacksonville, Fla. All the great games that I’ve gone to, the food, the people that I’ve met, all the stuff that I’ve seen, it’s been awesome. I’m one of those guys where you know, I’m 23 years into this and I love the road more than ever and rather than whittling down my schedule to just play the major cities, I’ve actually expanded the amount of places that I go to because I want to see a bunch of stuff. You know, plan it as I can while I’m still young enough to travel.
CW: Who are some of your personal influences that helped you choose the road of comedy?
Bill: Before I even knew what stand up was, I tried to make people laugh at school because that was how I made friends, so I think that’s how I got drawn into comedy and obviously I was just some kid at school being silly, so the first time I saw a professional comedian and how smooth and funny the person was I totally got into standup and I would say obviously Richard Pryor was the guy. He’s the greatest of all time and then George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Bill Cosby. It’s so weird to bring up his name now but leaving out his off-stage antics… you could learn a lot from him.