Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 7
On top of his gameBill Burr brings his knockout standup comedy to Chumash Casino
BY JOE PAYNE
Bill Burr has become a familiar face on TV and in cinema, but his passion for standup comedy first started him on the path to a career in entertainment, and that outlet still keeps him touring and performing at clubs across the globe.
Originally from the suburbs of Boston, Burr got his start in the early ’90s in the bigger-city comedy clubs, which breed heavy-hitting comedians, masters of angry comedy, and sometimes blue humor.
“All the guys I liked coming up did that: Nick DiPaolo, Dave Attell, Dave Chappelle, they were all like that,” Burr said. “They were just on stage and talking, and sometimes yelling.”
Anyone familiar with Burr’s standup may have enjoyed his particular brand of the often-angry rant. And anyone familiar with his podcast or appearances on other podcasts can attest that his standup is no act, but just the way he is.
“I’m not playing anything, it’s who I am,” he said. “I wish I wasn’t so angry all the time.”
Burr is a master at channeling that anger into comedy. He’s well known for dismantling many politically correct ideas while still making light of serious issues. Chappelle noticed his style early on, which helped Burr land several roles on Chappelle’s show.
“Dave was always just a cool guy as I was coming up in the clubs, and he said some really nice things to me,” Burr said. “I auditioned for his show, and they liked what I did.”
People familiar with Chappelle’s iconic sketch comedy show may remember Burr as a woefully unhelpful employee in the “Pop Copy” sketch or as an anchor for the “Racial Draft.”
“I’ve been a really small part of a couple of great things,” he said. “My IMDB page is a pretty quick read, but I have been in some really cool stuff.”
Within the last couple of years, Burr has appeared in films with Sandra Bullock (The Heat), Al Pacino, and Christopher Walkin (Standup Guys). He’s also appeared on several episodes of the wildly popular Breaking Bad as the reoccurring character Kuby.
“Everybody was fun to work with, a great experience,” he said. “It’s cool. If I could just keep doing standup, selling tickets, and then getting a little part here and there, it’s all good.”
While Burr enjoys acting in films and television, his true art form is his own standup comedy, which he hopes to never stop.
“Comedy is like music; it changes every four or five years,” he said. “As the older guy now, I’m going to be 45, you’ve got to stay in the clubs.”
In the fast-paced standup comedy scene in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, where new comedians are constantly seeking a voice, a more seasoned artist needs to stay a part of the continuing comedic evolution.
“Seeing the younger people coming up, and it’s just all different,” Burr said. “There are so many original, different styles. It’s really inspiring.”
While Burr may be a middle-aged comic, he still embraces young technologies and media. He continues to put out a weekly podcast, a free audio program available online.
“I started the podcast in June of 2007, so I’m coming up on six years,” he said. “Geez! Six years, I can’t believe it, documenting every Monday of my life.”
Burr’s “Monday Morning Podcast” is available on iTunes and on his website billburr.com. It continues to get solid reviews and featured spots in iTunes’ comedy podcasts.
“Nobody likes Mondays: The weekend is over. It sucks,” he said. “I thought, I’ll put something out on Monday so people have something to laugh at on Monday.”
Burr has split much time living between New York and Los Angeles, continuing to be a regular performer in both cities as well as in cities across the nation. His upcoming performance at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez is his first time on the Central Coast.
“I love California,” he said. “I love to go to a sporting event, whatever they are doing. I love all of it.”
Burr is the kind of comedian who’s been steeped in a lifelong love of the art form that is standup comedy. From his childhood watching Dean Martin with his dad, buying Richard Pryor records as a teen, or in the clubs getting his hands dirty and rubbing shoulders with greats like Chappelle, he’s loved the art of making people laugh.
“I’ve always liked a lot of people,” Burr said. “I’ve always liked guys who work totally clean to guys who are freaking the crowd out; I’ve laughed at prop comics—there’s no shame in it!”
Arts Editor Joe Payne loves to laugh on Mondays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.