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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Comedian Bill Burr Explains His Love for St. Louis and What it Means to be a "Comic's Comic"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM

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With all of the traveling you do and international shows, do you feel like you need to do different material, or do you think they just know what to expect from you and you don't need to worry about that?

I did at first. I really got into -- like I'm in England, and they speak English there, and I'm questioning everything that came out of my head. Like, "I'm talking about squirrels, do they have squirrels over here?" You I'm questioning everything. This is what I do when I go to a country where they don't speak English: I don't change anything. I go out there and I use slang and everything and I just act like they know exactly what I am talking about. I just keep going until something bombs. And then if something bombs I just make fun of myself for thinking it would work in their country, and go right back to acting like I am doing my act in St. Louis. And it works. It works in this way because they see you having fun and they see you being relaxed.

Was traveling overseas something you wanted to do, or something from management or elsewhere?

No, definitely from just wanting to put together a European tour. And I'm putting together an Australian tour. I want to travel like a band. I want to do the Australian leg, the European leg, the North American leg. It just helps you as a performer. The more you understand, and just the things you get to see... I mean. who gets to go to Europe and make a little bit of money? What I'd love to be able to do is sell tickets in Europe and go over there once a year or every year and a half, have a great time doing shows and then go blow all my gig money in France or Italy or Spain. Or go to Moscow, or I don't know, South Africa?

Just go wherever you want.

Life is flying by, and I want to see as much of it as I can. It helps to shape your bits. When your world keeps expanding, it expands your outlook on Earth. And you get rid of a lot of self-pity and shit when you go to all these different places and you see how people live better, and a lot of people not living anywhere near as well as you are. I'm not saying they're in poverty or anything like that, it's just the amount of stuff you can have, the amount of space you can have living in this country.

I did a bus tour recently. I went down South, and just driving all the way through the South, it was weird to just get like oddly patriotic looking out the window going, "This is just an unbelievably beautiful country." I'm glad somehow when the wheel stopped spinning I landed here.

Absolutely. When I lived and travelled abroad I never felt very patriotic, but when I came home I realized all of things that I appreciate and became more grateful for the society I am a part of and the lifestyle I get to lead.

I always find there is something unsettling when I am in another country, just for the fact that I check for my passport like once every like six minutes that I still have it. As much as I am having fun, it's when I come back to America that I'm back here and you know, I always feel this sense of relief when I go through customs and I'm back basically with my tribe. It's also that excitement I've had with flying so many different places when the plane starts going in a direction that I haven't gone in, like when I took off from LAX to go to Australia. The fact that it didn't loop back around and start flying back over the States again and just kept going out over the ocean -- I guess I got excited like a little kid.

I was curious about how you are doing more acting, and my first thought was wondering if you want to transition away from comedy, but after this brief conversation we've had it sounds like comedy is your end-all, exactly what you want to do.

Totally. I have a lot of goals as a comedian and I have been able to achieve some of them, but I have way more that I want to do. I really, really enjoy acting, but I like acting the way I'm acting, where it's like... It's not my show; I go on your show and I'm there for a week and then I go back doing to comedy. Or I book a part in a movie and in between I get to rub elbows with these incredibly talented people and then I get to go right back out on the road. I absolutely love being a comedian more and more every year. And I love going to all the cities and that type of thing. This is the first year I have done a major theater tour. And I'm like going to all these old theaters, and it's like going to old ball parks. They have all these great stories and these legendary people that perform there and become part of the history. I'm a nerd; I'm a kid when it comes to stuff like that.

Continue to page three for the rest of our interview.

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