Bill Burr On Netflix

“Paper Tiger”: bit.ly/2prl0X7

Baba Booey told me to watch it.

The news has got me depressed.

I know, I know, you’re overloaded, you don’t want to hear my opinion, I get that. But you’ve got to read this story in the “New York Times,” “How Florida Republicans Are Talking About Impeachment – Working-class Republicans see Donald Trump as a white businessman who made a lot of money. The investigations only strengthen their kinship with him”: nyti.ms/2JsRqYf

I know, I know, both sides are up in arms. The right hates being labeled and the left says it’s all not true.

So maybe you should read Robert Reich’s column, “No wonder Wall Street fears Warren and Sanders – they speak for the people”: bit.ly/2MYsiec

Oh, now you certainly won’t bother. I’ve given you homework, two articles. Remember hyperlinks? How everything was gonna be connected to everything else? Well, now it is, and we’re on strike, we never want to click through, we’re overloaded, and everything’s a scam, made to sell us something or perpetrate some untruth.

So since I’m now deep in the hole, I’m gonna give you one more…

Hmm, I can’t find it. It was on the “Washington Post” app. It was facetious, talking about how the Democrats need a new centrist candidate, because none of those running today appeal to anybody.

Maybe you don’t even get the joke. No one gets the joke anymore. We’re too thin-skinned, protective of the little territory we’ve got.

And that’s what Bill Burr skewers.

Now I remember when my favorite comedian was Alan King. And to tell you the truth, the young comics give King props. But those comedians aren’t even young anymore, they’re boomers, so he’ll be forgotten.

But in the early seventies, there was a comedy revolution. Its name was George Carlin.

Carlin famously changed his act, he couldn’t do the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman anymore, he had to speak his truth, about politics and society. His old audience abandoned him, but he soon had a new one on board. Carlin’s routines were legendary. About baseball versus football. But also about the seven dirty words you can’t say on television. And in my head right now, I remember his routine on voting…you can vote all you want, do it if it makes you feel good, but the owners of this country are never gonna let you have any power. It went something like that.

Carlin was a dorm room favorite. Along with the Firesign Theatre. But Firesign was more about absurdity, whereas Carlin was more about truth, he changed people’s minds.

Like Bill Burr.

We’re going through a comedy revolution folks. And it doesn’t quite look like the one that came before. Oh, there have been comedians forever. But then the giant sitcom opportunity opened up. Even before “Mork,” even after “Seinfeld,” that was the holy grail, to get a network sitcom. Yup, “network,” does anybody watch network anymore? No, but they do remember laughter.

So now maybe you have a podcast, and a Twitter feed, to popularize yourself, to stay in contact with your audience, so they’ll come see you live, so they’ll watch your Netflix special.

Yup, the comedy specials used to be dribbled out on HBO. Starting with Robert Klein and then George Carlin…comedy was a poor stepsister. But not on Netflix, there’s more than you can eat there. To the point where one is overwhelmed and doesn’t play at all. Do you ever get that feeling? That you’re so far behind that you might as well not even start? Miss some “Succession,” some “Billions”…sure, you could stream history, the earlier episodes, but do you really care that much? You already missed being part of the discussion, and you’re gonna take hours away from something else.

And it’s even worse with music. It rains down on you every damn day. They keep telling us the biggest acts are big, but they’re nowhere near as big as those of yore, and those of yore release albums and they’re gone immediately. Yup, Madonna put out a new album. Bruce too. Oh, Bruce is trying to goose his project with some movie, but why do I need to watch that? It’s for hard core fans, it’s not part of the mainstream, nobody will talk about it, at least not rationally.

It’s like we’re in a grain silo. And they keep on pouring in new corn, or wheat, and we’re slowly sinking, to our deaths. We want to be part of the culture, we want to fit in, but today we’re all in our own verticals. Even worse, nobodies on social media are imploring us to get into their verticals. Why?

So we wait for suggestions. We need to hear from a trusted source. Or a few people. Before we partake.

We finished the third season of “Goliath.” When it was done, I said THAT SUCKED. And Felice started complaining about the loose ends and I started searching for a new show. I wanted to watch that French agent show but couldn’t find it fast enough so we settled for Bill Burr.

I was not prepared.

Only cartoon characters and comedians can speak the truth in today’s society. That’s what made the “Simpsons” so popular. The truth, we could accept it from two-dimensional characters.

But the heyday of cartoons is past, how long has the “Simpsons” been on the air? I love that they’re still producing new episodes, but I gave up years ago. Felice is done with “South Park,” I read about it in the news, but I don’t watch it. And the new cartoons? They’re safe. Everything’s safe in America, for fear someone will get offended.

Like the trailer for “Paper Tiger” above. Netflix is too scared to show the essence of Bill Burr’s act, they just defer to the usual marriage stuff.

But the truth is…

Let’s see, it started with Dave Chappelle, nearly two years ago, on his New Year’s special. He said if the women don’t involve men in the Me Too discussion, there will be no forward movement.

Here we are.

So Burr hits the stage and says so much offensive stuff, the stuff you can’t say, about women and race and… You know, trigger words, sensitivity. And at first you’re shocked, you don’t know quite know how to digest this. He doesn’t really mean it…or does he? But then Burr switches sides and starts talking about Kaepernick, how people criticized him saying they have relatives fighting in Iraq… Nobody gets the story anymore, they’re too busy defending themselves.

Yup, tonight I listened to Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson too. They’re dead serious. This is war. But the viewpoint is so slanted that if you’re living in that bubble, you’ve got no idea what’s going on.

Oh, don’t give me that crap about MSNBC being the same thing on the left, it’s not. You may not agree with MSNBC, but it’s not outright lies, facts are not omitted to make the case. Yup, today Ingraham accused Vindman of espionage. Is no one safe? Is everybody working the refs?

Not comedians.

Of course we’ve got a ton of standups afraid of the third rail, worried about offending someone, decreasing their audience. But the truth is unless you’re passionate, about the truth, unless you push it over the limit, you’re irrelevant, you’re entertainment, like most of the musicians.

Yup, musicians are now “brands.” Do you want to cozy up with Tide? Maybe Downy? No, musicians are people. And it should be about the music, but now that’s just a starting point, to building an empire.

Yup, most of these “musicians” are uneducated nitwits, grubbing for a dollar, believing if they just work hard enough they can be Bill Gates. Huh?

But the comedians?

You’ve got to be smart to make it work.

Now one of the most confounding things about recent right wing politicians is that they frequently like left wing music. Yup, Chris Christie loves Springsteen. How do you explain that? I mean the Boss is all about the working man and unions, but Christie loves the sound.

The same way people love the jokes.

Being a comedian is the best gig ever, assuming you’ve got an audience. You show up at the hall, maybe with your own microphone, maybe with a road manager/buddy, and you take home all the money. Yup, costs are almost nil.

But it used to be only English comedians could sell out arenas.

Now it happens in the U.S. too. There’s so much money, you don’t need a TV show, you don’t need to be in movies.

But Bill Burr was. Still is. He’s 51 years old, he’s paid a ton of dues.

No one expects a comedian to be great out of the box. They’ve got to woodshed. But fifteen year old pop stars? We’re all for it. Forget the life experience, they’re young and cute and adolescents are brain dead and will buy anything, even virtual goods, so let’s appeal to them. If you’re an adult, it’s scant pickings.

But not in comedy. You can get away with almost anything, by saying it’s a joke!

Of course I know that’s not true, Bill Maher lost his TV show. But the needle is moving back to the center, there is pushback, because comedians thrive on this stuff. Hell, I saw Richard Pryor at the Comedy Store mere months after he burned himself up. What did he do? Richard Pryor jokes! He knew what we’d been saying. It felt like we were exposed. It was brilliant comedy.

So, Chappelle doesn’t apologize. Maybe he is homophobic, but he puts it out there.

You may not be able to host the Oscars, but the truth is your fans understand and those complaining oftentimes have never even seen your act, never mind being fans.

I’m not endorsing homophobia, but the truth is unless we discuss the issues, there will be no progress. Yup, Bill Burr sheds more light on Me Too than a month’s worth of opinion pieces, and he does it with comedy.

That’s what’s gonna change the discourse. Because the young and impressionable are addicted to these jokesters. And those on the right and left too. We agree on comedy. We can no longer agree on music, so much else, but when someone prowls the stage and starts hanging it out there, daring us to laugh…

That’s right, our only hope of coming together as a nation, not only solving our problems, but first seeing our problems, is comedy. We all watch, and one thing about comedy, it makes you think.

Comedy today is dangerous. I’m not talking about rap feuds, where people get shot, but the mind.

Watch Bill Burr’s special. You may not laugh at first, but then he’ll nail something and you won’t stop snorting.

Now unfortunately, Burr ultimately slides into the marriage wars, to his detriment. Granted, you need stories to hold the set together, but there’s just not that edge, it’s just not as dangerous. The key is to not be warm and fuzzy, to not reveal the trick, to leave the audience wondering…was that real? Does he really believe that? WHAT DO I BELIEVE?

~~~


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