By Tracy Dietlin
Bill Burr is an American comedian from Boston, Massachusetts who has a resume a mile long.
Having first gained notoriety for his recurring role on the second season of Chappelle’s Show, Bill developed a comedic style of uninformed logic that has made him a regular with Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon.
On September 30, Bill released his 2011 Carnegie Hall performance only on vinyl through Third Man Records. His fourth hour-long special, “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way,” will premiere on Netflix on December 5 and was recorded on June 20 at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. In July, Bill received the Stand-up Comedian of the Year Award from the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.
Bill will be seen in the indie film, Black and White, opposite Kevin Costner, which made its World Premiere at The Toronto International Film Festival on September 6. Earlier this year he was seen in Walk of Shame alongside Elizabeth Banks. In 2013 Bill was seen in the films The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, and in Stand Up Guys with Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Bill was also seen in the Steve Carell & Tina Fey feature, Date Night.
Bill received raves for his recurring role as “Kuby” on the hit AMC-TV show, Breaking Bad and he can be seen in multiple episodes of the hit Comedy Central show, Kroll Show. He guest starred on Fox TV’s New Girl in 2013 and contributed to the 2012 and 2011 ESPYS.
One of the most popular comedy podcasts on the web, Bill’s Monday Morning Podcast, is an off-the-cuff weekly rant that has become a fan favorite. Bill began the podcast in May of 2007 and has produced over 350 episodes.
Burr was nice enough to take time out to chat with CV Weekly by phone last week.
CVW: Were you always funny even as a kid? And did you grow up wanting to be a comedian?
Burr: I feel like I grew up in a funny part of the country. Everyone around me were all funny characters. I grew up loving comedians. But there wasn’t any internet back then. A friend of mine said he was going to go to an open mic night and I went with him and that was a watershed moment for me because if I didn’t meet him I don’t know if I would’ve ever gotten into stand-up.
CVW: Who were your favorite comedians back then?
Burr: Anyone who made me laugh. But at first it was the ones my Dad was watching like Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Foster Brooks, Lily Tomlin, Cheech & Chong. Then I started buying albums with my paper route money. I would buy them for my Dad for birthdays and Christmas and he would listen to them once and I would take them and memorize every line. When I got in middle school I started buying Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Eddie Murphy. I loved Sam Kinison, David Brenner and Andrew Dice Clay.
CVW: How many days a year do you do stand-up?
Burr: I go out like every other week. I love it.
CVW: You’ve been in a lot of movies and TV shows. Do you prefer doing that or stand-up?
Burr: Definitely stand-up. There’s nothing like it. For me the way I’m wired I’ll get up and perform in front of 20 people. I don’t care. At this point in my life I don’t ever see me stopping. I will always want to go up there and make people laugh and piss them off a little.
CVW: So it doesn’t matter to you if you perform for 20 people or 20,000?
Burr: Well ya (laughing) for my finances and my ego I enjoy having a big sign with my name on it but as far as just doing comedy if someone says ‘Hey, I’ve got a room with 8 people in it. Will you come down?’ I’m like ‘sure’.
CVW: Where do you draw your inspiration for your material from?
Burr: All my failures in my personal life. I like famous people that get themselves in trouble and making fun of them and then defending them. The NFL has been a lot of fun this year watching them squirm and acting like they’re holier than thou and that they don’t lie. And you’ve got to keep a sense of humor about yourself because I realize just how full of shit I am too.
CVW: Tell me about your new comedy special coming up on Netflix. What will be different from your other specials?
Burr: Well I like to think that I keep getting better (laughing).With each special I’m working on a new skill. Each one is a transition from the last. And with this one I feel that skill I was working on has gotten better so I’m happy about that.
CVW: What was it like working with Melissa McCarthy on “Heat”?
Burr: Ah man…she’s something else. A talent like that doesn’t come around that often. She’s the real deal. If she did stand-up she’d be a real scholar. I can’t say enough about her. And she’s as sweet as she is funny.
CVW: What advice would you give young comedians just starting out?
Burr: Just have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The first 10-15 times you do it it’s not about how good you are but about having the nerve to go up there when they call your name. Stay away from negative people. If you feel like you have to make adjustments just to hang out with someone then that’s not a good person to bring into your circle so cut them loose. Try and get as good as you can and then don’t be a dick to the new people.
CVW: What was it like being Saul’s henchman on “Breaking Bad”? Do you feel like you gained a whole different fan base from that?
Burr: It was fun to get recognized and appreciated as an actor. I had other actors coming up to me telling me that they respected me as an actor and that was cool.
CVW: So are you going to be part of the new show “Better Call Saul”?
Burr: I don’t know. I haven’t heard anything yet. I’m a fan first.
CVW: So you’re saying there’s a possibility then?
Burr: Hey…there’s a possibility I’ll end up on Glee. You never know.
On that note I have to say that I laughed through this whole interview. Burr has a sharp wit and is always on his toes.
Tickets for the October 11 show are $45, $55, and $75 and are available at www.Spotlight29.com, Star Tickets (800) 585-3737, or the Spotlight 29 Box Office and Gift Shop. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.