Minneapolis, Minn. — Boston’s iconic redheaded, paranoid and manic comic prototype Bill Burr performed at the Orpheum Theater Wednesday night, Oct. 28.
Joining him was Paul Virzi as Burr’s opener. Openers are usually reserved to fill time before the headliner, and to give the crowd time to grab a drink or angrily tweet complaints, but Virzi quickly made himself welcome.
Virzi had a very casual demeanor in a stark contrast to his high-strung headliner, Bill Burr, dressed in white sneakers and hooded sweatshirt.
He started his act talking about the 2016 presidential election, comparing Donald Trump to the kid at the elementary school lunch table talking about what they would do if they were president. He then cemented the audience’s approval with a bit about sex in the shower.
For his closing bit, he expressed a bit of hesitance bringing up religion in his act. He stated how people have a right to believe what they want to believe and that he had no right to object, but that he did have one minor grievance with the Bible.
He went on to say that about every 1.7 seconds a person dies and that St. Peter was stuck for eternity welcoming them all into heaven. He then thanked the crowd and welcomed Bill Burr to the stage.
Burr immediately started by complaining about the weather, earning the audience’s sympathy. He kept the first part his act local, talking about getting the famous Minnesotan burger, the Juicy Lucy. After familiarizing himself with the audience, he started his act.
His act was seemingly wild and yet well controlled, consisting of all new and unreleased material. He had a sense of dynamism and precision with him that night, as he ranted about everything from aborted plane landings to ghosts to YouTube videos of gorillas.
Burr is arguably best known for his ruthless critique of feminism and feminist culture. When he started a much-anticipated tangent on the wage gap, presenting a surprisingly articulate argument that what women make now is already more than generous, he attracted the attention of a heckler in the front row.
He asked her politely three times to be quiet. Bill is a more than formidable comedian when it comes to dealing with hecklers.
During his closing bit, she started to scream things again and finally Bill snapped, saying that he was getting his money either way and that she was just spoiling the show for everyone that was paying to be there.
He then stated that Minneapolis was full of fine people, except for her and suggested that she should just kill herself. Security came to escort her off of the premises but Bill stopped them and told them to let her stay, or she’ll just feel just even more “victimized.”
After the altercation, her husband walked back in, completely unaware into a heavily silent auditorium. Burr just laughed and apologized to him for the earful he’s going to receive on their drive home. He then finished his set, thanked the audience again and walked off the stage.
This was a new stratosphere for Bill Burr that isn’t often seen. On of today’s better comics, Burr is funny and has had a unique outlook that has made his comedy stand alone. Yet, he never seemed to understand or care to understand the technicalities of comedy that made greats like George Carlin or Richard Pryor escalate to comedy icon status.
Much like the legend of the iconic blues singer, Robert Johnson, selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads and coming back to play the guitar better than anybody had heard before, Burr came to Minneapolis with an act that could serve to intimidate even the most professional of comedians.
He was clear and lucid when he spoke, and further animated his jokes with physical comedy, an avenue not taken frequently and one that many other contemporary comics seldom attempt.
Burr is preforming and filming a special at the legendary Madison Square Garden this December and plans to release his own cartoon on Netflix in December.
If he keeps his act as sharp and dynamic as it was in Minneapolis, Bill Burr will elevate from his status as a cult comedian to one of the faces representing our era of modern greats, just as Bill Hicks, George Carlin and Lenny Bruce did before him.