Kicking off his European tour tonight, Bill Burr fully justified his reputation as one of the best stand-ups working today.
Bill Burr - Academy, Glasgow
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Debunking the existence of ghosts and questioning the benefits of a Christian afterlife might seem like easy targets. But the agitated Bostonian portrays stupidity so vividly and delivers his material with such explosive punchiness that it might be possible to overlook the quality of his writing, were it not for the stark contrariness of his opinions elsewhere.
He advocates witholding love from kids for their own protection. And while fully appreciating America’s reputation for gun violence, his piece on owning a piece is sublime, convincing you that his paranoia is comprehensible.
Lots of comics have material about their kids, while others with none have jokes about the smug certitude that breeding instils in people. But few will have contrived a better routine than Burr’s hilarious adoption strategy, a typically narrow-minded, cockamamie idea that he acts out backfiring spectacularly and hilariously.
He can be absolutely brutal in his mockery, with the lingering residue of an old-fashioned chauvinism. But ultimately, it’s always borne of his own fear and he’s invariably the butt of his own jokes.
His closing routine ranking dictators in the style of sport stats doesn’t quite match his masterfully told tale of witnessing a pig’s incontinent lack of self-esteem. But it’s a measure of the American’s talent that he can find and render amusing the petty human one-upmanship even in genocide.