Bill Burr Delivers Big Laughs in Ottawa

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Last night, Bill Burr took the The Arena at TD Place by storm. Burr worked through about an hour and a half of material leaving the audience with a sense that they more than got their money’s worth.

A trademark of Burr is his take no prisoners approach to comedy. With no topic off limits, Bill Burr went to work on a variety of hilarious bits. He discussed the evil Hall of Fame, the white guy stereotype, McDonald’s, population control, drinking and driving, the gender pay gap, and some of his scariest airline moments.

All of Burr’s material was edgy and for the most part the Ottawa audience was willing to play along. There were only a few groans, which is pretty good for today’s crowds. Bill Burr’s fans are typically blue collar white guys just like him so there likely were few people in attendance who didn’t know what they were in for.

Bill Burr was at his finest when he was talking about sensitive subjects. His Hitler/Stalin sports analogies were spot on. As far as evil goes we are with Bill in wondering why Stalin is being sold short. The set wasn’t just about ruffling feathers, though. Bill  made numerous poignant remarks while he was making us laugh. While his opinions on white guys and feminism might not be what you’d hear during one of those “spirited” one-sided debates on CNN, Burr’s jokes were on point. Of course, all of the material was in good fun, but it wouldn’t hurt if conversations on topics like the gender pay gap would include a perspective like Bill’s. Does the 22% gap equate to dinners, movies, and drinks? We’re not economists, but Bill’s suggestion that this should be included in the calculations was a fresh take on the topic.

Having only seen Bill Burr in the past on television and once during a live performance of The Goddamn Comedy Jam, it was fun to see him have time to really work through a set. We knew from his podcast and his past work that Bill brought a lot of energy to the stage. What he also showed us last night is that he is a strong improviser. Between his observations about the handkerchief of a US flag that was hanging in the rafters and his concerns about people drowning in the Rideau Canal, Bill made last night’s audience feel like it was seeing a unique show. It wasn’t just Ottawa-based humor that felt off the cuff. Bill Burr frequently went off on hilarious tangents that came across as though he thought of funny quips in the moment.

If you’re not comfortable with some jokes about things that unfortunately have become taboo in today’s society, Bill Burr’s stand-up might not be for you. If you’re relaxed and ready to have some really good, hearty laughs then he is the right guy. Last night’s audience seemingly fell more into the latter category and as a result, pretty much everyone went home having fun. For us, we’re not those bloggers that’ll end up with Bill on Good Morning Ottawa. We had a great time!

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