Bill Burr pledges to return after successful performance in TA

US comedian receives an effusive welcome at first standup show in Israel.

May 7, 2019 14:28
2 minute read.
Bill Burr

Bill Burr. (photo credit: JOSEPH LLANES)

Bill Burr has really found his crowd. The American stand-up comedian received a roaring reception during his debut performance in Tel Aviv on Monday night. And he knew it.

“I’m gonna f**king move here,” he said after one particularly enthusiastic laugh and round of applause. “I’m gonna come here just for the laughs.... I should have recorded this show, and when I’m performing elsewhere and there’s silence, played this laughter. I’m definitely coming back here.”  

The veteran comedian, with a host of stand-up specials under his belt and his own Netflix animated sitcom, is a connoisseur of the angry-man routine. He rants and rails about the troubles facing poor, oppressed white men today, and finds a ripe audience both online and around the world.

Indeed, by my deeply unscientific analysis, about 80% of the audience in Tel Aviv Monday night was male, 15% were women dragged along by their significant others, and the remaining 5% were female fans.

After a solid but unmemorable opening act by Joe Bartnick, Burr took the stage to raucous applause. And for the next 90 minutes, he proved just why he fills arenas on tours around the world.

And, unlike some comics who stop for one show in Tel Aviv, Burr wasted no time in poking fun at his hosts. He jumped straight in with a comment on how “10% of you don’t pay any taxes at all, is that right?” He then clarified: “It’s the guys with the hats and the curlicues,” referring, presumably, to haredim and their long sidelocks. “Just because you wear the hat and the curlicues you don’t have to pay to fix a goddamn pothole?” He also said he expected as soon as he got off the plane “for some Mossad agent to put me in a sleeper hold” – and seemed somewhat disappointed that it didn’t happen.

Early on in the evening, Burr realized he had found a particularly receptive crowd.

“It’s weird doing stand-up in my country now. Everybody gets offended about everything,” he said, to a loud round of applause. But he also said he couldn’t quite peg the typical Israeli. “You guys are either super-liberal or your wife has to walk 20 feet behind you. Can’t figure it out.”  

Burr weaved through bits on marriage, fatherhood, therapy and his experiences touring the world. Of course, it wasn’t hard to find something to take offense to in his long set. But that’s exactly what Burr wants.

“You know what’s hilarious about sexual assault,” he begins, before launching into a bit on how the #MeToo movement has gone too far. He railed against the idea that people should “believe all women”: “How about believing 88%?” he said. “I mean of course, no women lie, no women have agendas... if I asked the women here what percentage of men you thought were stupid, I bet it would be higher than 12%!”

Burr didn’t bring up the US president too much during the set, except during one joke about deliberately annoying a liberal friend by telling him he stayed in a Trump hotel in Chicago.

“I didn’t vote for the guy, I don’t like the guy, but it’s a f**king building,” he said. “I can’t stand that guy, but goddamn can he make a nice hotel.” 

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