Bill Burr: I don’t let people just sort of go like, you know, this sweeping generalization of like “oh I’m this person so that means I’m always right” because– like, these groups that are considered basically oppressed, right– Just because you’re in those groups doesn’t mean that you can’t be wrong. But you can’t be an asshole. You know what I mean? So, like, say like the feminist groups and all– on TV they can basically say as ridiculous shit as they want and nobody’s going to call him on it. Certainly guys are not going to call on, like “well, you know, it’s not really like that, you know, from my perspective” because they’re immediately gonna get labeled a misogynist, a woman hater and all that. So they just sort of sit there and– you know so I just sort of, you know, just have fun with that.
Interviewer: Do you care that much about feminist bloggers shutting people down or is it that you know your comic’s instinct knows that that’s a difficult topic with potential for outrage.
Burr: No, it bugs the shit out of me. I hate watching comedians have to apologize for jokes. It’s stupidest thing ever. And I don’t like how somebody in the crowd gets to define what the comedian meant. I always say it’s your right to go to a comedy show and take a comedian seriously but just because you took my joke seriously doesn’t mean I now meant it. And you literally watch comics go “no, that’s not what I meant by it” and they’re arguing with them. It’s just like, “wait, so you know what I’m thinking and what my intention was more than me? And I also feel like it has nothing really to do with the comedian. It has to do with the cause. And what they’re trying to do is just shine a light on what they want to change and they are just using the comedian as a lightning rod to shine it on. And they don’t give a shit what they do to the comedian. So they are actually the asshole, because if you look at it, the people that they get offended by, always seem to have movie careers and TV’s because they’re not going to waste their time, for the most part, getting offended by a no-name comic, because they’re not going to get any traction. Okay, but if it’s you know– stand up– you know, whatever, whatever fucking– saying elsewhere’s whatever the name of the show is, so and so– you know, got in trouble at the blah, blah, blah, at the comedy club.
Interviewer: Do you ever think it’s justified? Do you ever think an attack on what someone said on stage is justified? Do you think a comedian– do you think it’s like it’s a sacred space, a comedian can say anything he wants with no come back at all?
Burr: Once again, this goes back to just because you’re in an oppressed group doesn’t mean you can’t be an asshole. Just because you’re a comic doesn’t mean that you’re never in the wrong. There’s been times that I’ve been on stage and I’ve gotten mad and I just said something hurtful to somebody… So, like, afterwards, if they want to come up to me, I would be like “yeah, you know what, you’re right, I shouldn’t have said that, I apologize, you know, I’m having a bad day and blah, blah, blah, blah… That’s the way it should be handled. This whole fucking thing that you got to have this– why do you have like this press conference and has to be on TV and all over the internet, in the blogosphere and all of that– Because what it is… it’s all bullshit… because they don’t want an apology, they want the light shined on them to be like “look at me.. . look how my feelings got hurt… this is my cause… blah, blah, blah…,” and they’re using the comic. If it was really just “you said this, I felt it was hurtful,” it would be a one-on-one situation. That’s what it is. Because no one would even know if it fucking happened. This is what I love to. Then it goes on the internet and all these other people get offended about something that was said at a show that they weren’t at. And then they feel that they are owed an apology. And everybody is like “oh, me, me, me…” I swear to God– some of these people on the fucking internet– it’s so funny the way that they look at people who are on the stage and they talk about our egos and stuff like that– it’s the tipping point is happening where the behavior of some of these fucking people in the crowd– their egos and all of their bullshit, they are out shining some of the worst egomaniacs on my side of the microphone. It’s like you guys–
Interviewer: This is it! This is it! You accept that there are egomaniacs on your side of the microphone, my feeling is that maybe the people you’re talking about, who are making these kind of criticisms, what they feel is that they don’t feel powerful, they can’t physically come see you after a show. From that point of view you’re a famous guy, you’re making a huge amount of money, you are powerful.
Burr: I’m not talking about money… like, in a comedy club… in a comedy club.
Interviewer: Sure, sure. But but what I mean is, I think we as an audience — I include myself in the audience, because I was there last night show — we as an audience consider you powerful, so if a random blogger kind of– they’ve got no kind of comeback to say this is the problem.
Burr: That’s such bullshit…
Interviewer: You don’t think?
Interviewer: So you think– what, do you feel powerful on stage or do you feel more vulnerable than powerful.
Burr: I don’t think anything. I think I’m going to work and these people paid money I have to give their money’s worth. And I’m not gonna go out there and do some sing-songing “knock knock, who’s there,” because that’s insulting to them. And if I go out there in front of 100 people and 99 people enjoyed it and one person didn’t, that’s really not a big deal. That’s sort of– I just hit a home run. And for them to take that one person and act as though they represent the majority– and second of all that there’s some sort of stenographer and remembered exactly what I said and they’re a mind reader and know my intent in all of this shit and then you have a kangaroo court, judge jury and then I’m a white guy so I immediately I had a privileged upbringing– right? My dad owned a Hollywood studio and every day I had a gold bar for breakfast–
Interviewer: Well, that’s no what privilege means, is it? Like, you can have a shit life and still be privileged. Do you know what I mean?
Interviewer: Like, when people refer to male privilege or white privilege, they don’t mean that you drove around in a yacht when you’re a kid, they just mean that you didn’t have to deal with the the systematic issues the other people had to deal with other no-white people.
Burr: That’s super vague horseshit.
Burr: It is. That’s all super vague. Human beings are so much more complex than that! So much more complex than that. And there’s plenty of people in oppressed groups that have easier roads in way better life than people who are so called in a privileged group. You can’t just look at somebody and be like “that’s your skin color, you’re that.” You can do that with white people. But if you apply that same formula to somebody who wasn’t white, it would be considered racist.
Interviewer: Sure, but that’s– I’m just saying that’s not my understanding of privilege.
Burr: So you are telling me that somebody could be getting sexually abused throughout their entire childhood but because they’re white… they still had a privileged…
Interviewer: It doesn’t mean that’s ok…
Burr: …but they still had a privileged life?
Interviewer: No, but they have privilege within the comfort… within the definition…
Burr: Within the anal rape by a family member they still had this privilege– it’s a cartoon dude, it’s a fucking cartoon. Everybody is a fucking cartoon. Everybody gets defined by the cartoon version of them.He’s a white guy, we’re on a yacht, we’re in the fucking Illuminati, we have the perfect little breakfast and we get raised by a nanny and all of this shit. That’s the image of white– it’s not like– in my country you see these fucking people living in the middle of nowhere where there’s this fracking– they’ve completely destroyed the drinking water and the brokeass white people and nobody cares about them. So I think having clean drinking water– once that’s out the window like– for me, I would not feel that I had this privilege. You know what I’m saying? I think it’s a divisive word. I understand it. I absolutely understand it. But to just sweepingly generalize all white people like their life is a fairy tale, is probably the worst way to try and bring people together, because that put someone on the defensive. And to me that’s 90 percent of the internet, where it’s like– say I make an ignorant comment about something and you actually know the truth of it. Okay? If you just said “Listen man, I’m actually in that industry or I’m in the blah, blah, I grew up like that,” and you came at me respectfully, I’m way more gonna be open minded to listen to you. But on the internet, the way it’s done is “Hey shit dick, maybe if you blah, blah, blah…,”– they come at you like that.
Yeah, but similarly like men’s rights activists on the internet, as a pulling a group, I think we can agree that people who call their [?] stuff online.
Oh, they’re cringeworthy. And they always try to align my shit with their horseshit.
Yes, they do. And I tell you what man, there were some people cheering in the audience last night, who I thought “I don’t know that they’re getting a lot of irony from what Bill is saying here.”
But here’s the thing though. That’s not my responsibility. I’m not a baby sitter. And I’m not toning down what I say in this thing anything that I say including to you the second down saying it isn’t 100 percent what I said. Because the second I say it, it goes into your ears, into your head, it is immediately cut with your childhood, in all of your life experience. Okay, so it’s like drugs that have been stepped on. You know what I mean? It’s the same thing. So everybody is trying to make human beings out to be the simple one dimensional things. Human beings are so much more complex than the fucking sound bite of 3 seconds into their act or one joke that they said and then your defined this is who the fuck you are. I’ve always said this, if they could download all of your thoughts would you have a job on Monday? Would you not have to make an apology? I don’t think anybody could survive that test. But this thing walking around with a just making generalizations like “these people are privileged, these people are oppressed, these people are are ignorant, these people at this, these people are that.” You can make fun of these people, you can’t make fun of these people. You know what I mean? You can’t make fun of Caitlyn Jenner because transgender people blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… Rednecks you could just say they fuck their sister in the ass and you’re going to get a fucking standing ovation, blah, blah, blah… so it’s okay to make fun of their poverty and the fact that their luck was that they fucking were in the middle of nowhere in my country– just the fact that their state is not near an ocean–which somehow that just makes you the dumbest person on the planet according to New York and LA, where I’m from–it’s just like– I mean, this is one of the advantages of being a comedian and traveling, it’s that you get to see all the different types of people, all the different layers, all the different levels, all the different stories within all the different colors of people.
So all of that stuff that I see on TV is just a bunch a yammering to me by a bunch of people that really need to expand the friends that they have in their lives. And a lot of them I feel to just I just you know I don’t know just took the way they just go after comedians like that, it’s such lazy journalism when do you have genetically altered food was a heroin epidemic okay you know we just go on and on and on the oceans are getting– for some of the major fucking problems never talked about. Pharmaceutical companies you know get people hooked on these these things that get people on heroin I mean there should be a class action suit against those guys all that shit gets fucking oppressed. But you do a Caitlyn Jenner joke in a strip mall… that’s going to go on the news. Do you know why? Because there’s no risk. There’s no risk. There’s no danger to that, there’s nothing. If a comedian started paying for advertising on fucking network TV, you’d never see a comic in trouble. We fucking unionized and there was actually money for them to lose by coming after one of us, then you would see a lot of that shit go away.