‘WE’RE ALL ON A BULLET TRAIN HEADED TOWARDS THE WALL’ Hitlist THE BEST COMEDY *
✽✽ Pappy’s Can this comedy troupe (now down from the original quartet to a mere trio) deliver 200 sketches in just a single hour? My cash is on it actually happening. Blackfriars, Glasgow, Thu 18 Mar. ✽✽ Bill Burr See preview, left. King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 20 Mar. ✽✽ Sean Lock Quite simply one of the nation’s most accomplished stand-up talents gets all techy (though not really) with his Lockipedia show. See preview, page 59. King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 23 Mar. ✽✽ Dan Antopolski Having disappeared from the stand-up stage for a while to have kids and that, the bearded jester follows up his Fringe 09 return with some more tales of his curious life. He raps and everything. The Stand, Glasgow, Tue 23 Mar; The Stand, Edinburgh, Wed 24 Mar. ✽✽ John Gavin The current Scottish Comedian of the Year spouts forth on the subject closest to his heart and the area which has given him acres of rich material: the perils and pitfalls of modern parenting. Uisge Beatha, Glasgow, Thu 25 Mar. ✽✽ Lee Mack The energetic northern lad does his funny physical thing with some straight down the line, no nonsense, high quality stand- up. Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 24 Mar; King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 27 Mar. ✽✽ America Stands Up Want to see some comics from the other side of the pond who might be the next big US thing to assault our comedic senses? There’s four of them here with the more familiar Scott Capurro leading them on. The Stand, Glasgow, Sat 27 Mar.
Dragging a heavyweight reputation across with him from the USA, world-weary Bill Burr tells Brian Donaldson that all he wants to be is a better person
For a man who insists that ‘reading makes me sleepy’, US comic Bill Burr still has pretty definite opinions on the state of the planet. Whether these have really been formed simply through his own kneejerk reactions to the mad, mad world around him is unclear, but he has little doubt about who he is. ‘I’m basically the loud guy in the bar you realise did horribly in school but you sit back and laugh at me,’ he says. ‘It’s not a character, it’s pretty much who I am. But I’m trying to become more informed so I’ve been brushing up on my European geography. I know the expectations you people will have on how fat and stupid we are, so I don’t want to add to that rumour.’
Making three pit-stops in the UK and Ireland during his debut on these shores, Burr began stand-up in the early 90s, becoming a staple on the late-night chat shows of Conan O’Brien and David Letterman. How his Glasgow Comedy Festival date came about is something of a blur to Burr, recalling meeting ‘some guy connected to the festival’ in a bar after several too many light beers, but he is clear-headed when it comes to shaping his material for non-American crowds. ‘There’s always an adjustment you have to make, but I pretty much talk about my life, so I think it’s relatable stuff. I’ll have to take some sports references out but I can still tell a story about my behaviour at a football game.’ Although his brother Robert is deep in US political life as a Massachusetts Republican, such a career has never appealed to Bill. ‘Some people can name
56 THE LIST 18 Mar–1 Apr 2010
senators the way I can name my football team. But I find it frustrating when I watch politics, it’s all just complete bullshit. A lot of our politicians are just spokespersons for the corporations.’ The core cause of the current global problems are pretty clear to Burr and we can expect plenty of material in his show about the state of the economy and the repercussions to the banker-led recession. ‘I don’t really have faith in humanity at this point; I think we’re all on a bullet train headed towards the fucking wall. I’m just trying to be a better person, get on the subway and try not to be a dick to the next person. That’s the only thing I can control.’ Although a renowned rabble-rouser (his YouTube highlight is a visceral and prolonged verbal attack on an audience in Philadelphia for being rude to the previous comedian), Burr acknowledges a delicate area that he won’t stagger into. ‘I won’t make fun of handicapped or mentally challenged or retarded kids or whatever you’re supposed to say. I did a joke about it one time and I ended up making some woman in the crowd cry but as I didn’t know her story, I did the comedian thing of defending my position. My parents used to work in hospitals and they know firsthand what those parents go through and I just felt I was ignorant. Of all the things you can attack as a comedian and of all the things that need to be made fun of, children with mental problems is not one of them.’
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 20 Mar.