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Is Bill Burr’s Style Burning Out?


Written by Dont Panic
17 Wednesday 17th August 2016


U.S. funnyman Bill Burr has taken a big step backwards with his latest show. Not a throwback to his earlier material, but the sort of 1970s gags that play to the Fathers4Justice contingent of his fan base. Like Louis CK, he's playing London and Edinburgh this August, but unlike his fellow redhead Burr seems to have rejected evolution in favour of regression.

For instance, he drops lines about how his wife is a nag, who won't let him have the car he wants because they're expecting a baby; inspired, right? The mostly bro audience was high fiving each other like they were at a frat house gang bang. At one point, Burr let loose about black people who abuse his dancing and exclaimed a retort that white people were too busy learning how to fly; the audience erupted as if he was their anti-PC Moses, leading them to a promise land where the white man isn’t so put upon. Perhaps Brexiteers have got a court jester that’s not Boris Johnson.

Burr’s set truly lit up when he spoke about this year’s US presidential election, eviscerating Donald Trump - a man whose moronic honesty Burr appreciates, yet is incredulous at what Trump has achieved so far - while viewing Bill and Hillary Clinton as the ‘fucking devil’. It’s a blunt take on a dire situation, but he raised even more laughs with an anecdote about a gorilla. However, Burr attempted a nuanced, ironic gender commentary, which sailed over the heads of a lager lads audience who just wanted more of pent up take on his frustrating wife and the pain of air travel. 

Burr admits to being lazy and this new material definitely is. Firstly, it's not all that new. He's done the gags about topping himself innumerable times previously, while you get the sense that he calls topics as he sees them too much, instead of thinking how he could push himself or his subject matter further. His Netflix special from 2015 seems to represent the high watermark for a comedian who's almost peerless as a story teller, but who seems to lack the confidence or the energy to leave what he’s so comfortable with behind. Maybe fatherhood will change him, but until then, the lad’s own comedian is what we can have.

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