In this age when comedians like to tease other comedians for delivering “TED talks” instead of stand-up comedy, it’s fascinating that nobody has actually used the TED talk format yet to both embrace and mock the trend. Until now. Thanks to Ian Edwards. And Bill Burr.
Bill Burr Presents IanTalk: Ideas Not Worth Spreading, the second of three All Things Comedy produced specials previously announced by Comedy Central, premieres tonight at midnight.
It’s set up to look like a legit TED talk, complete with the letters TED and a red circle onstage, with Burr using a headset mic to introduce Edwards. At which point, the letters spin around to say IAN instead.
You don’t normally hear comedians ask for consent, but Edwards does that, too. “Is everybody cool? Can I talk about anything? Can I say whatever? Is that cool with everybody?”
Edwards and I sat down earlier this year at The Comedy Store to talk about anything and everything for my podcast, Last Things First — back in the spring, Edwards told me he was hard at work editing the special. Seeing and hearing it (spoiler: there are one or two really loud laughers who remain unseen but often heard in the audience), I can understand why.
Over the course of 40 minutes (in the ad-supported version of this special), Edward introduces some 15 ideas. As you can see from the trailer above, they include thoughts on “hoes,” sushi and drugs.
What makes Edwards special is precisely his ability to throw out ideas and develop them into richer premises than you might imagine. It’s why other comedians stop what they’re doing to check him out, and why Edwards often gets hired for writers rooms.
- “Fellas, you know how much child support costs? These women are marching for our rights to not pay child support.”
- “Riots are like black people’s Shark Week.”
- “The media always says dumb stuff, like ‘Why can’t you protest peacefully like Martin Luther King?’ Uh, they shot him.”
Edwards also finds a new way into explaining why white women love Lena Dunham more than black women, perhaps the weirdest thing about interventions, how #fuqboi suddenly stopped being a slur, and how the richest people literally look down on the rest of us.
The late Brody Stevens warmed up the audience for this taping, and there’s a brief moment paid in tribute to him. But Brody would have been right that night, and this one, too, in telling us what to do when it comes to Ian Edwards: Enjoy it!
Bill Burr Presents IanTalk: Ideas Not Worth Spreading premieres tonight at midnight on Comedy Central.