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The Future Is Now

Bill Burr gives fans his all on fully loaded CD/DVD release

Capitalizing on his breakthrough (see 4/15/06 review), Bill Burr has given his all to his new CD and DVD releases, both titled “Why Do I Do This?” (Image Entertainment released the CD on August 8 and will release the DVD on September 16). The DVD is packed with generous extras, notably footage from his XM Satellite Radio show with Joe DeRosa, “Uninformed,” and an extended tour of New York comedy clubs with Burr’s reminiscences about bombing and successes in each of them. The footage with DeRosa is compelling enough to make one want to subscribe to XM.

Burr’s hour-long act itself, chronicled on both the CD and DVD, is mostly new material. -Both live and on past specials, Burr rarely re-releases the same material or recycles very much, always writing new stuff. And on “Why Do I Do This?” whose title one can almost imagine Burr delivering in his outraged exclamatory voice, he advances the themes he’s focused on in his stand-up in all those previous performances.

Burr takes on big topics like race in an honest and fearless manner, just as much as he lets fly with his no-bull take on the world. Take a line from “Football Coach:” “You can’t even bring up how well black people do in sports … look how quiet it just got, and I’m saying something good, right?”

Saying “You’re Fast,” [the following track] is a compliment, right, Burr wonders. “You’re saying we can’t be scientists? No, all I’m saying is if there was a race to the microscopes, you would win!” he exclaims, in an expert twist.

Taking the premise still further, Burr imagines Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics being shown up by Jesse Owens. “I just imagine him on the way there in the limo, all amped up that he’s creating the master race -- Nah, we already did that. We sent them to the gym for 200 years, now they’re dunking on us.”

Another trait that makes Burr stand out is his ability to mix in self-confessional material in selected spots -- and to make that autobiographical material revealing of his own craziness (confessed more seriously in the DVD extra interviews). On “Muffins,” Burr sets the stage of being dragged to a street fair. “It’s a typical girlfriend idea. It sucks and it will take all day.” So he muses on what would happen if he went up to the table selling muffins and suddenly punched each and every muffin into a messy pulp. “It would take awhile before anyone would even realize what was happening, and then try to stop me. … But this thought made me laugh, and like an idiot, I tell my girlfriend what I was thinking about.”

The level of precision that Burr has reached in his act now comes from 15 years experience, and it now shows. Although his novelty has worn off, Burr definitely is building the foundation that could take him to an even longer run of albums with smart, edgy and eventually classic material.

  

   

     

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