Comedy star Bill Burr discusses his career, fatherhood and podcasting
The comic will perform two shows at the MGM National Harbor Casino on August 24
“I still think I’m kind of underground.”
Bill Burr, the renowned stand-up comic, believes he isn’t at the top of his field despite what others may say.
“There’s a huge separation from where I’m at to the Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart level,” Burr said in a recent interview with The Eagle.
In a way, he’s right. He isn’t a movie star. But he does have a large following and his name carries enough weight to headline a comedy festival and fill out big venues. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. Burr says the pressure of trying to make it big in the comedy scene eventually leaves, but there is always something pushing him to be better.
“When nobody knows who you are, people are just going to the comedy club cause that’s just what they do and you have to prove to them you’re funny. Once people know who you are, then they have expectations,” Burr said. “The pressure is still there it just shifts from you don’t wanna bomb in front of strangers, but when you bomb in front of strangers they would just walk away like ‘man that red-headed guy sucked.’ But once they know you and they go see you, if you bomb, it’s ‘oh, Bill Burr sucks.’”
The 50-year old comedian has a series of upcoming tour dates through November, including two shows at the MGM National Harbor Casino in Maryland on Aug. 24. The third season of his Netflix original animated show, “F is for Family,” for which he writes and voices the central character, will premiere later this year. Burr’s voice is perhaps most familiar on his bi-weekly podcast, titled the “Monday Morning Podcast,” where he’s often unaccompanied -- meaning he can speak his thoughts freely.
“I’m a moderately sane person but I’m definitely a little nuts, so I think it’s that aspect of me that’s doing the podcast,” Burr said. “The fact that I can sit there and talk for an hour by myself and have a conversation with myself is – I don’t know, kind of letting you into that weirdo guy who walks around his house talking to himself.”
Burr became a father in January 2017 and one and half years later he says the experience hasn’t changed him “at all.” He does credit fatherhood as the reason he shed some of his bad habits.
“I definitely view other things differently, but I’m not gonna pretend I’m not this crass person and start wearing sweaters,” Burr said. “You know, I still watch sports. I definitely go to bed earlier and I used to have my evening cocktail or two, I don’t do that anymore. All parents told me, kids don’t give a shit about a hangover. They’re still waking up at six.”
Burr has a hard time understanding other parents, describing parenting as a “competition on caring and how much you’re affected.”
”Everybody thinks their kid is the next Albert Einstein,” Burr said. “It’s really bizarre behavior and it all comes from loving at a level you’ve never loved before.”
Along with the newfound responsibility of parenthood, Burr continues to work as a comedian and across other mediums. All of Burr’s external work from stand-up comedy have been well acclaimed from both fans and critics alike. He has five stand-up specials in his catalog, all of which are available to stream on Netflix. These specials are a good introduction to Burr and his humor, though he refrains from viewing any of them outside of the editing room.
The reason for Burr’s aversion to his own work stems from his childhood experiences watching stand-up greats.
“When I was a kid, a ‘special’ was a special, and it was guys like Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Sam Kinison,” Burr said. “When I look at those guys and what they did, whenever I look at what I’m doing, it always pales in comparison, so there’s always a bit of shame in it.”
Though he views his work in a less positive light than his childhood heroes, a lot of media coverage of Burr describes him as a rage comic celebrated for his brash storytelling. Burr doesn’t necessarily see himself in that light.
“If I watched myself for five seconds, that’s what I would think too … I think I’m a sweetheart,” Burr said. “I’m like most people, I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. I just think I’m misunderstood.”
Instead of viewing himself as a “rage comedian,” he sees himself as more of a project.
“I’m a mess, a work in progress, I don’t know and I don’t give a shit what people think about me, I’m just glad people care enough to come to my shows,” he said. “As long as enough people watch it, and like it, and show up to my shows, I think I can live a life and never have a real job, which is the goal.”
Bill Burr will perform two shows at the MGM National Harbor Casino on Aug. 24. Tickets can be purchased here.