“Everybody fucking relax. Get yourself a sandwich.”
– Bill Burr
This episode of the podcast features Bill Burr (@billburr). Many of you know Bill as a famous standup comedian, and thousands of you have been requesting him for years. Rolling Stone called Bill “the undisputed heavyweight champ of rage-fueled humor,” and when we were finally able to talk, he did not disappoint.
In this wide-ranging conversation we explore:
- How Bill found his way into standup comedy
- Why he enjoys going for an encore after he’s been booed
- The transformation from a “squeaky clean” comedian to offending nearly everyone
- How learning can serve as powerful therapy
- The importance of enjoying success
- And much, much more
This interview comes from my television show Fear(less), where I interview world-class performers on stage about how they’ve overcome doubt, conquered fear, and made their toughest decisions. You can watch the entire first episode with illusionist David Blaine for free at att.net/fearless. (To watch all episodes, please visit DIRECTV NOW).
We recorded three hours of material, and only one hour was used for the TV show. This podcast episode is almost entirely new content that didn’t appear on TV.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast with a comedian, actor, and director? — Listen to my conversation with Vince Vaughn. In this episode, we discuss stories of his early beginnings, how to negotiate, his cold-calling career, and important decisions he’s made as a producer, an artist, and a businessperson (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Bill Burr:
- When Bill Burr Went to Battle against the City of Philadelphia, The Laugh Button
- F Is for Family
- Worst I Ever Bombed: Bill Burr, The Tonight Show
- Gordon Ramsay’s Scrambled Eggs, The Daily
- Comedy Central Presents: Bill Burr
- HBO’s One Night Stand: Bill Burr
- Bill’s Netflix specials: Let It Go, I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, and Walk Your Way Out
- Grubman Pleads Guilty in Crash That Hurt 16 at Club in Hamptons by Marc Santoraaug, The New York Times
- Billy Bush Breaks Silence on Infamous Tape with Trump: ‘I Sacrificed … My Own Dignity’ by Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News
- Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast
- A clip of Bill on Chappelle’s Show
- Bill on Breaking Bad
- Opie and Anthony
- Randy Baumann & the DVE Morning Show
- Black or White
- Eddie Murphy Raw
- Back to the Future
- The Comedy Union
- Dangerfield’s Comedy Club
- Bill Burr’s Animated Helicopter Bit
- Why Bill always takes the opportunity for an encore if he’s been booed. [06:33]
- Childhood in the ’70s (“Back when you could almost kill a kid and it wasn’t a problem”). [09:45]
- Was getting into standup comedy Bill’s best anti-bullying, life-fulfillment strategy? [10:39]
- Bill goes over his brief career as a dental assistant for his dad. [15:17]
- Bill’s conversion from squeaky clean to offending everybody. [18:00]
- How does Bill know when a joke or a piece of writing is close and when it’s done? [19:43]
- How did Bill recover from his first time bombing on stage? [20:19]
- Bill talks about what led to a particularly dark period in his life and how he climbed out of it. [22:15]
- How have Bill’s goals changed since beginning in standup comedy? [30:46]
- When did Bill finally feel like he’d arrived as a comedian? [34:01]
- On the importance of enjoying success in the moment. [35:15]
- Does a comedian who goes through therapy, meditates, or tries to cope with life in a healthy way run the risk of losing their “edge?” [37:03]
- Why Bill thinks we should have stopped advancing technology circa ’94-’95. [40:01]
- What prompted Bill to start his podcast? [42:00]
- Formative experiences between beginning comedy specials and “F Is for Family.” [44:32]
- Who is alienated by Bill’s humor? [48:44]
- Does Bill ever deliberately try to alienate an audience in order to reel them back in? [51:42]
- What Bill observed by comparing Rodney Dangerfield’s audience to Eddie Murphy’s. [53:20]
- What advice would Bill give his 25-year-old self? What advice does he think his 60-year-old self would tell him now? [56:10]
- Most memorable heckles. [101:25]
- Is Bill prepared for the apocalypse? [1:04:58]
- Gregg “Opie” Hughes
- Dave Elitch
- Robert Burr
- Ron Howard
- Nia Hill
- Gordon Ramsay
- Jim Norton
- Lizzie Grubman
- Billy Bush
- Amanda Schatz
- Lucien Hold
- Dave Chappelle
- Anthony Cumia
- Randy Baumann
- Mike Binder
- Joseph Stalin
- Donald Trump
- Barack Obama
- George W. Bush
- Bill Clinton
- George H. W. Bush
- Ronald Reagan
- Rodney Dangerfield
- Eddie Murphy
- Rudy Giuliani
- Jay Mohr
- Wil Sylvince
- Robert Kelly
- John F. Kennedy
- Kim Jong-un
Posted on: September 17, 2017.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.