Bill Burr on Doing Drama, His New Animated Show and Political Correctness
Photo by Koury Angelo
Bill Burr has a career worth bragging about. He's more than just a very funny and clever stand-up comedian with a legion of dedicated fans who pack houses like The Majestic Theatre, where he will take the stage at 8 p.m. tonight
He has released six stand-up specials, four of which were produced for Netflix's streaming service. He's appeared in a bunch of mainstream movies including comedies like Paul Feig's The Heat and serious dramas like Black or White, and he even had a prominent role as one of Saul Goodman's henchmen on the critically acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad that's sure to lead to a special appearance in its Emmy-nominated spinoff, Better Call Saul. He even has an animated series premiering on Netflix later this fall.
So how does Burr sum up a career that most comedians would kill to have? Well, Burr may be opinionated about everything from politics to family onstage, but when he steps off of it, he's as humble as one of the Catholic Church's saner popes.
"I do stand-up and I have a cartoon, so that's basically all that's going on," Burr says with a laugh.
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The "cartoon" he's referring to is a six-part animated series called F Is for Family for Netflix, the media giant that's made the critically acclaimed shows House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and BoJack Horseman. Burr wrote and stars in the series as a 1970s dad who's an "amalgamation of everybody's dad that writes on the show."
"The show takes place in 1973," Burr says, "so what's cool is that I have the catchphrases and stories of about seven or eight different people's fathers from the '70s."
The series is being produced by Vince Vaughn's Wild West Productions, which met with Burr when he had the idea to develop some of his childhood stories into short cartoons for his own website. The meetings eventually developed into a feature-length series they later sold to the streaming TV service.
"It's just something that sort of naturally progressed," Burr says. "I was always telling childhood stories on stage and I'm a big fan of animation. So I thought, 'What if I animated them?' I was just going to do five-minute vignettes on my website, and I just happened to have a general meeting with Wild West and they loved the idea. Then we got in business with [writer] Mike Price from The Simpsons and four-and-a-half years later, we've got a show coming out."
Right now, the episodes are being edited. Burr says he's been working so hard on putting them together that he hasn't had a lot of time to reflect on his life or anything outside of a recording booth or writer's room. Still, it's hard to avoid the reach of Donald Trump's hilarious presidential campaign, as evidenced by Burr's last visit to Conan O'Brien's show last month.
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