Timing is everything in comedy. Including the decision when to record your album/special and when to release. Which really came into focus sitting down to watch Bill Burr‘s newest hour-plus for Netflix, Walk Your Way Out.
In his latest Netflix special, Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out, the comedian makes light of his “cowboy shirt” and general lack of awareness about his Nashville audience before quickly acknowledging the weirdness of filming his special in October 2016, weeks before he or we knew whether we’d face 2017 under President Trump or President Clinton. He did believe the choice untenable. “This is like the first week of American Idol. Really? This is what we got?!” he wondered, adding: “You either got a racist dope or the devil.”
We may look back on this in a future Humor in Hindsight a bit differently.
But today’s political landscape changes with such brute force and relentlessness, at least in these first weeks of the Trump Administration, that late-night TV comedians also have trouble keeping pace. Their barbs about the weekend’s headlines at a Monday afternoon taping already seemed outdated or superseded by even more ironically satirical actions the new president had taken by the time their shows aired after the late local news. Burr, speaking to me by phone on Friday, still hadn’t been sold on Hillary Clinton as a better option. “She’s absolutely the devil,” he told Decider. Comparing her to Donald Trump, he said: “I would rather have a wolf standing there than to sit there and insult me and have half a sheepskin on and not go ‘Baaa’ every once in a while.” By Monday night’s episode of Conan, Burr still didn’t understand how Clinton could lose when Trump said so many things in the campaign that would’ve ended another candidacy.
Truth is, though, as he notes time and again and did in Walk Your Way Out, he’s not politically-minded or aware so much as he is selfish, and he’d much rather watch inane programming than the news. “Fill up my brain with this dumb shit. I don’t want to deal with what’s really going on!” Burr jokes.
And there’s plenty here that’ll become timeless to balance out the Trump/Hillary/Hitler material that may come across weirder as time goes on. Burr remains one of comedy’s most-revered comedians for good reason. Read my full review on Decider.