Burr brings edgy stand-up to Hawaii Theatre

Jan. 25, 2014 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Comedian Bill Burr has starred in many roles, including Kuby in the award-winning television drama 'Breaking Bad.' --Courtesy Koury Angelo

Comedian Bill Burr has starred in many roles, including Kuby in the award-winning television drama, “Breaking Bad.” (Courtesy Koury Angelo)

BY STEFANIE NAKASONE / snakasone@staradvertiser.com

In a Rolling Stone article last November, comedian Bill Burr was dubbed “The New Louis C.K.” While Burr takes the comparison to the highly popular comic as a compliment, he doesn’t really see it.

BILL BURR

» Where: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.
» When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24
» Cost: $42
» Info: (808) 528-0506, hawaiitheatre.com

“I think a lot of the Louis C.K. stuff has to do with we’re both redheads,” Burr quipped during a telephone interview from Los Angeles Tuesday, Jan. 21, shortly before heading to Hawaii. “I think other than that, Louis has just an extremely unique style. I don’t think anybody sounds like him. And I don’t think I do either.

“You know what it was, a magazine wrote that and once they wrote it … I don’t think they even really listened to my act, cause I don’t even know how you get Louis C.K.”

What you will get tonight at Hawaii Theatre is uniquely Bill Burr, whose comedy is hilariously on-point, often angry and expletive-loaded, and unequivocally no holds barred — in his past comedy specials, his topics have included jokes related to heavy issues like pedophiles and violence toward women.

Just to be crystal-clear, Burr doesn’t advocate those things. But his stand-up act at times is dark, and his audiences love it.

“It’s not really what I wouldn’t address, it’s how I would address it,” said Burr when asked if any topic is off-limits. “You can talk about all those subjects in a funny way … talk about the whole situation. But there are people who don’t really hear what you’re saying, they just hear the subject.”

Burr’s influences range from Dean Martin and the variety shows he watched growing up in Canton, Mass., to greats like Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby and Sam Kinison. But as he’s developed as a comedian, he’s gained respect for artists who challenge themselves to improve. He cited actor Jack Lemmon and drummer Steve Smith, formerly of Journey, as examples.

“There’s two kinds of artists that I’m finding out there,” Burr said. “There’s the people who, they make it and then they do what they do, and that’s their thing. And there’s the other ones who are continuing to grow as a performer.

“I’m trying to do that as a comedian with each special, I’m trying to get better and hoping people will notice.”

Burr has not only become one of the most popular stand-up comedians around, he’s broken through in other mediums.

Burr rants about pretty much everything during his “Monday Morning Podcast,” which is more raw and profanity-laced than his polished stand-up acts. Fans have flocked to the podcast every week since it began in 2007, making it among the most downloaded comedy podcasts on iTunes.

On television, Burr played Kuby on the recently wrapped, award-winning drama “Breaking Bad.” He’s also appearing on four episodes of Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” this season.

In addition, he has roles in two films coming out this year: the comedy “Walk of Shame” starring Elizabeth Banks and the drama “Black and White” starring Kevin Costner.

BURR IS back in the islands a year after performing at The Republik, but that first trip to Hawaii was cut short.

“I came up last year to go to the Pro Bowl, but what ended up happening was I ended up getting an episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ that started shooting 5 a.m. Albuquerque time Monday morning,” he said. “So I did my gig Saturday night and I had to immediately leave. So I’ve been out there for like 15 hours.”

This time around, he’s not only attending Sunday’s Pro Bowl, but he also flew in a few days early to shoot a segment for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”

An avid sports fan, Burr always has an opinion on sports, especially his Boston teams.

For the Super Bowl, he’s picking the Seattle Seahawks to beat the Denver Broncos because “Marshawn Lynch … can keep Peyton Manning on the bench. And I also don’t like Denver because they let San Diego and New England hang around.”

As for the Pro Bowl, Burr loves the new format, which has been called “real fantasy football” because players are “drafted” to teams regardless of conference. Eventually, he’d like to see the Pro Bowl become more like flag football.

“It’s really a testament to how tough the game is and how physical it is. You can’t really play, there’s just too much at stake,” Burr said. “They beat the crap out of their bodies all year. Let ‘em go out there, go snorkeling, drink out of a half-pineapple, have a good time, play a game of touch football. It should be fun.”

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