The Royal Theatre hosted comedian Bill Burr in his tour on March 18. Bill Burr is well known to fans of the popular series “Breaking Bad” as Kuby, one of Saul Goodman’s henchmen.
Paul Virzi was the opening act for Burr. Although he had his funny moments, it felt like the opening act went on a little too long, straying from the objective of providing an introduction and warm up for the audience and Burr.
Loud applause greeted Burr as he came onstage. On entering, he said it was great to be on “Victoria Island.” Upon realizing his mistake, he blamed his itinerary, saying that was the name on it. It was hard to tell if his mistake was a joke he had built into the act or an actual mistake, because he played it off so well. Burr was thrown some soft heckles throughout the night, such as when he asked how far it was to get from Victoria to Vancouver and an audience member shouted “Who cares?!” which he easily played off.
Burr’s act felt like an off-the-cuff conversation between friends, which flowed together well. The only stumble of the night was forgetting what he had just been talking about before he was sidetracked. However, Burr, who apologized for being gross while opening a pack of tissues and wiping his nose, can be forgiven because he was dealing with a cold; he also claimed his wife says he has ADD.
Impressions filled Burr’s act, not of anyone in particular, but of stereotypes of characters. The impressions were a great touch; rather than trying to describe a character, Burr embodied them as he spoke through their voices. Burr touched on some of the usual comedian material, such as relationships, but instead of going to an extreme in a negative or vulgar direction, he had a good-guy appeal, using intelligence rather than grating loud obnoxiousness to get his point across.
Burr spoke of his current obsession reading up on leaders such as Hitler or Stalin, which brought about some of his best jokes. He pointed out that Stalin had been responsible for the death of a significantly larger amount of people than Hitler, yet all other dictators are measured up against Hitler. But, he said, it’s not the dictators or sociopaths you should really be afraid of, it’s nerds: the people who create the bombs or other technology that the dictators request but wouldn’t be able to create themselves.