Bill Burr is a triple threat – comedian, actor and podcaster. The “Breaking Bad” actor will be in Phoenix on Oct. 5 for a standup show at the Celebrity Theatre. In a phone interview with The State Press, Burr discusses future acting dreams, creative freedom and his close relationship with the art of standup comedy.
State Press: You did radio in college. Did you originally want to go into radio or did you always know you wanted to do comedy?
Bill Burr: I knew I wanted to do standup. Radio was just a way to talk to people, be on a microphone, but I didn’t have to see them.
SP: You have a lot more freedom with standup than you do with acting. Do you like the structure of having a script to follow or do you prefer the creative liberty of standup?
BB: I like them both. Even though they have the dialogue written out, what you do with it is the creative part – and you can also throw in lines, pray to God that they work … standup is always gonna be my first love.
SP: At this point you have a multifaceted career with TV, podcasts, movies and standup. Is there one you prefer over all of the others?
BB: I’m a comedian. It’s impossible to explain to somebody how awesome doing standup is unless they did it. I wouldn’t know how to explain it, the connection you have with the crowd. People can heckle, and it’s just considered part of the show. People do enjoy watching a comedian, I think, handle a heckler. But I just think it’s funny that it’s accepted. Even politicians, they get heckled, you get ushered out of the room, but in standup they get to stay, which I just think there’s something cool about that. I say so many ignorant things in an hour, like, why wouldn’t you yell at me?
SP: Is that aligned with what you had envisioned for yourself, or have your goals changed over time?
BB: What I’m doing right now is exactly what I wanted to do. I’m a standup comedian that is playing some pretty cool venues, and I’m selling tickets. And I’m also getting to do some acting work in some cool TV and movies.
SP: You landed a role on “Breaking Bad,” which is a massive hit. Was it an easy transition for you to go from comedy to drama?
BB: I mean, just because you’re a comedian doesn’t mean you don’t have drama in your life. If you look at what people are talking about, comedians, they are talking about a dramatic event in a funny way. “Breaking Bad,” I would also argue, is one of the great dark comedies in television history.
SP: You’ve been quoted as saying that you were a big fan of “Breaking Bad” and you approached them for a role. Are there any other dream TV shows that you’d like to join?
BB: I’d like to be in a Western. I like getting killed. I’d like to just chop up a horse. I’d like to fight zombies.
SP: You have a reputation of having no filter. Do you regret anything you’ve said publicly?
BB: I don’t regret anything that I’ve said on stage, unless I was in a bad mood and I was deliberately being malicious, then I regret those moments. But, those moments are few and far between. If you go out to a comedy show, you have the right to decide to take the comic seriously whenever you want to, but just because you took me seriously doesn’t mean I meant it. When someone in the crowd blogs about what somebody says and then all of a sudden the comic has to go on TV, it’s cringe worthy. It’s so childish, I can’t even look at it.
SP: “You People Are All The Same” was very well received. What kind of comedy specials would you like to do in the future?
BB: I’d like to have each one be a little better than the last one. If I get a little bit of acting work and people buy tickets to my show, I got money to get myself a sandwich.
Bill Burr will perform at the Celebrity Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 and are available here.
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