Bill Burr — The Comedian's Comedian (#265)

“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 (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.  


You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#265: Bill Burr -- The Comedian's Comedian

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):

#243: How to Fear Less -- Vince Vaughn

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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:

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

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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15 Replies to “Bill Burr — The Comedian's Comedian (#265)”

  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.


  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.”

  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.

    1. ” 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.

  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?



  5. Precipitated… Laughed out loud, in my car, at a set of traffic lights to that part.

    I like it when Tim laughs from the belly too, not an exhale through the nose laugh but a deep belly laugh.

  6. “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.

  7. I loved this episode, and Tim being so relaxed in dialogue with Bill. Enjoy!

    And loved the framing on how to value your time in your attitude to money!

  8. I feel that these episodes that are pieced together for the Fear(less) show are really distracting IMHO. I think it is because of the audience, the regular podcast episodes feel like you are actually having a conversation, versus the show interviews seem like the guests are trying to impress the audience in some way.

  9. Hey Tim, really want to watch the TV version of this episode but don’t live in the US. Any plans for adding to iTunes or Amazon? Thanks!