One-on-one with the master of the riff

Breaking Burr
By CHRIS CONTI  |  July 10, 2012

Bill-Burr-2010-Color_main
STAND UP GUY But Burr’s also working on his acting chops, co-starring with Pacino and Walken.

Bill Burr is a busy man. The New England native now resides in Los Angeles, so I'm hoping he's on the East Coast when I'm instructed to call promptly at 9 am EST for a 30-minute phoner to promote his return to the Newport Yachting Center (limited tix still available at newportcomedy.com).

"Nope, I'm at home in LA," Burr says. "But don't worry, you're my third interview this morning."

Approximately two minutes later we're off and running, and Burr heats up quick — like, Vinnie Johnson quick — riffing on just about any subject lobbed his way (particularly his beloved New England sports teams), and a half-hour later I walk right into his ever-popular "What are you, a faaaag?" when I mention being a longtime fan and appreciative of his time.

Since his appearance two years ago, Burr has made some impressive power moves, as the "shockingly Caucasian" comedic pride of Canton, MA, continues to kill on just about every platform imaginable. He was named Comedian of the Year at the 2011 Boston Comedy Festival, sold out Carnegie Hall, did a successful European tour, and just filmed his third standup special, You People Are All the Same, due out later this year. Oh, and he just finished filming another handful of episodes (as Saul Goodman's goon henchman Kuby) on the critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad, and the film Stand Up Guys alongside Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. And his wildly-popular Monday Morning Podcast (streaming for free at billburr.com and iTunes) is just about the best 60 minutes of ad-lib riffs and laffs on the interweb.

Burr's comedic style is brutally blunt observational humor; he has noted that people are drawn to "the standoffish and inclusive way I look at people." His personality is eloquently summed up front and center on his home-page: "I love my dog, I hate bankers. I have issues with women. In my head I'm a great guy."

When we first spoke prior to his last Newport show, Burr described his comedic approach as "that guy in the bar alone in the corner, yelling about this and that, with absolutely no factual evidence to back anything up. First they believe it, then when they realize you're full of shit, they just sit back and laugh with you."

Conducting an interview with Burr quickly turns to shooting the shit with one of your buddies. Every crew had that requisite ballbreaker growing up, a role which helped Burr hone his skills early on. "The guys I grew up with were total characters, so I sort of felt like the reporter," Burr recently said. "They were the story, and I was the guy who told it."

Cue up either of his two previous standup specials, Why Do I Do This? and Let It Go, and watch Burr let it fly, from watching fat people in the airport ("eating Sausage McMuffins and wiping her face with the bag") to his hilarious stance on "the most difficult job in the world — being a mom."

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