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From breaking bad to stand-up guy

Courtesy photo
So, how does "Breaking Bad" end? If comedian Bill Burr knows, he's not telling, but he will be talking about other things Wednesday night at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington.

WANT TO GO?

Bill Burr

WHERE: Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, 925 4th Ave., Huntington

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

TICKETS: $25

INFO: Call 304-696-6656 or visit www.marshall.edu/muartser Burr will also be at the WVU Creative Arts Center in Morgantown at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19. Tickets are $25.75 to $49.75 (plus fees), available through Ticketmaster.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Like a lot of people, actor/comedian Bill Burr can't wait to see how AMC's "Breaking Bad" turns out.

Burr, who performs his standup show Wednesday night at Huntington's Keith-Albee Theater as part of the Marshall Artist Series, loves the show and said it just continues to blow him away.

He said. "Sunday night, I had my hand on my head. You just never know what's going to happen next."

Not even Burr, who has a part on the show, though admittedly the role is pretty small. The 45-year-old plays, Kuby, one of seedy attorney Saul Goodman's bodyguards and henchmen. Burr has appeared on the show a few of times since his character was introduced last season.

"I've had a lot of fun," he said. "I've been emotionally involved in the show since it started. The acting, the writing, the direction -- it's just so good, and to be part of it is kind of surreal. It's like getting sucked into your TV."

Burr was a "Breaking Bad" fan from the first episode.

He said, "Six episodes in I was calling my agent, telling him I need to get on that show. I could drive a truck, play a meth-head, whatever they wanted me to do."

It took awhile, but his agent finally made contact, and they impressed the show's producers enough to keep him in mind so that when the right part came along, they brought him in to read for it.

"Thank God, I had a good audition," he said. "It feels like I won a radio contest."

Being even a small part of the show, Burr said, has been pretty amazing, though he's not sure what's going to happen as "Breaking Brad" rolls unstoppably toward it's conclusion on Sept. 29.

"It's unreal and one of the most amazing experiences I've had in this business," he said.

His small part on "Breaking Bad" isn't Burr's only appearance in movies or TV. He was in "Stand Up Guys" with Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin, as well as "Date Night" with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. This summer, he appeared in the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy action-comedy hit "The Heat," and there are other films on the way.

"If I don't get cut out of them," he muttered.

The movies and TV shows are great, but that's not what's bringing Burr to Huntington. At the Keith-Albee, he'll bring his standup act.

Burr described his comic delivery as breezy, but what he's talking about are whip-smart observations about human nature.  In his recent comedy special, "You People are All the Same," currently available on Netflix, he covered gun ownership, his misguided love for his pitbull and the different way men and women argue.

"Men and women argue differently," he said. "For men, it's about whose stronger. It all comes from physical strength. With women, it's mental strength.

"When two women fight, it's about who can make the other person madder. So...automatically, when you're a guy arguing with a woman, it's automatically an away game, and you're basically bringing a knife to a gun fight."

Most of the time, Burr said, it's better to not even get involved.

He's also not afraid to challenge people and make them a little uncomfortable to get to the joke. With very careful logic, Burr can deconstruct accepted norms and common sense statements like, "There's never a reason to beat a woman."

Burr asserts that there might be reasons to beat them.

At its face, it's shocking that he'd disagree, that he could say, "Yes, there might be reasons to beat a woman," but Burr isn't recommending or supporting violence against women or anyone else.

Actually, he says the very opposite.

"There are always reasons to beat someone. They're easy to come up with. You can list them off. You just don't do it. You never do."

Burr challenges pretending the thought never enters anyone's mind. He challenges the way a common saying is accepted as gospel, when really it's flawed statement.

He's trying to make his audience think a little, which goes well with the laughs.

Burr said he was looking forward to coming to Huntington.

"I've been to West Virginia before," he said. "I think I came through on a colleges tour about 10 years ago. It's a really beautiful state, and I love performing at places a little off the beaten path."

The audiences make all the difference.

"You get a lot of people who have to drive a ridiculous amount of time to go see someone," he said. "The crowds in the smaller places are just really warm and glad to have you."

It's a good thing, he said.

"I really can't wait for the show." Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.

 


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