Bill Burr — The Comedian’s Comedian

13 Comments

“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.  

Enjoy!

TF-ItunesButtonTF-StitcherButton

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):



This podcast is brought to you by FreshBooksFreshBooks is the #1 cloud bookkeeping software, which is used by a ton of the start-ups I advise and many of the contractors I work with. It is the easiest way to send invoices, get paid, track your time, and track your clients.

FreshBooks tells you when your clients have viewed your invoices, helps you customize your invoices, track your hours, automatically organize your receipts, have late payment reminders sent automatically and much more.

Right now you can get a free month of complete and unrestricted use. You do not need a credit card for the trial. To claim your free month and see how the brand new Freshbooks can change your business, go to FreshBooks.com/Tim and enter “Tim” in the “how did you hear about us” section.

This podcast is also brought to you by Shopify. With the help of Shopify, many readers of my blog — first-time business owners — have ended up making millions of dollars each with their side gigs. Back in 2009, I helped create Shopify’s Build a Business, which is now the world’s largest entrepreneurship competition.

The goal of this competition is to entice would-be entrepreneurs to get off the couch and make things happen, and all you have to do to qualify is open a store on Shopify and start selling. Top sellers in each category then have the exclusive opportunity to learn from mentors and experts like Tony Robbins, Daymond John, Seth Godin, Sir Richard Branson, and me a location like Oheka (aka Gatsby’s) Castle or Necker Island.

Listeners to this show can go to shopify.com/tim to sign up for a free, 30-day trial and get access to video courses that will help you get started — including How to Quickly Start a Profitable Dropshipping Store with Corey Ferreira and some goodies from me. Check it out at shopify.com/tim today!

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:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Show Notes

  • 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]

People Mentioned

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

13 comments on “Bill Burr — The Comedian’s Comedian

  1. Tim,

    In my Opionin your interview manner between Ray Dalio and this episode had really developed. It sounds to me like the meditation is working, you sound relaxed, engaged and dialed in.

    Are you doing any state prep before a la Tony Robbins?

    I’d love to hear more as I do TR coaching am 7 recordings into my podcast servicemavens.

    Thank You.

    Austin

    Like

  2. BB’s line “eat a sandwich” reminds me when David Letterman interviewed Warren Zevon for the last time as it was known that he had terminal brain cancer. Letterman asked him if he had any advice knowing that he was dying. Zevon’s response, “Enjoy every sandwich.”

    Like

  3. Lovely episode, though unfortunatley another guest with a very limited view of politics. I’ve worked with scientists for several years and watching climate researchers get censored and even sued by Republican policymakers makes it hard to listen to false equivalencies. More broadly, Republicans are adopting more and more stringent restrictions on the right to vote as the civil rights champs on their side of the aisle get primaried out of office. When I hear someone like Burr say that all political folks sound crazy to him, it just sounds like an excuse to not pay attention to issues that matter.

    Like

    • ” unfortunatley another guest with a very limited view of politics.”

      And to that I say: what a relief. Bill Burr himself has said its because he’s a comedian and not a politician. Its not his forte and not what his comedy is about. I’m not sure why you came into this episode expecting this from him? If you’re looking at someone to provide political commentary, look almost literally anywhere else these days. Everyone has politics covered to the point where Matt Stone and Trey Parker made an effort for this season of South Park to walk away from political commentary. I have a huge daily political diet but I don’t expect it from everyone and everywhere. I get an empathize totally with your post but it really has nothing to do with him or this podcast.

      Like

  4. Hi Tim. Big Fan of all your books and podcasts and would love to check out Fear(Less); however, I do not have cable and do not plan on getting it in the future. Are their plans to release the Fear(less) episodes on Amazon or other streaming platforms for purchase in the future?

    Cheers,
    Ray

    Like

  5. “the undisputed heavyweight champ of rage-fueled humor,”

    That’s really not an accurate description of his comedy, and he took issue with Colbert describing him that way as well. He joked, “I don’t even think I’m mad. I’m just old. This is how people used to talk.”

    He wouldn’t have gotten this far in life by just being angry all the time; no one would have worked with him. He’s actually a pretty down to earth dude, and I think that’s why people relate to him.

    Like