Bill Burr: Let It Go Review

There are really three types of comics; The big time, "celebrity" rock star types (see Dane Cook), whose stand-up events are more like concerts. The lifetime comics who have always done stand-up and just never quite been given enough recognition to make the jump to TV or movies, and the up-and-coming comedians who are desperately looking for that big break. Bill Burr is one of those stand-up lifers.

The Camden native has appeared in a number of television shows and films. Just enough to earn "oh yea that guy!" status when you see him on stage. Still, the many years of roaming comedy clubs and doing sets gives Burr an easy rhythm on stage that allows the audience to immediately settle in.

In Let it Go, Burr gets his shot at bringing the funny in his own stand-up special. Unlike some other comics who use these opportunities to pull out some crazy gimmick, or try and turn the special into something akin to sketch comedy, Burr plays it straight. You may think that diminishes the value of the DVD, but Burr’s abilities as a comedian definitely make a strong case.

The comic tackles a plethora of subjects during his hour long set that you can find comedians discussing all the time; relationships, fast food, and race-based skits. Yet, his jokes and observations aren't just recycled versions of the same tired routine. Instead he focuses on details that usually go unnoticed, creating some fresh gags out of timeless themes. Sometimes the jokes don’t pop quite as well as you would think, but you won’t ever find yourself bored because you’re hearing the same “did you ever notice when women do…” shit.

Aside from his originality, Burr shows he isn't afraid to go after some touchy subjects, including suicide and telling the audience why being a mother isn't that hard. And it all works, partly because Burr's observations and jokes are legitimately funny, and partly because Burr's personality is affecting enough.

Burr is one of those comics that has an understated anger behind his act. He isn’t blatantly angry like a Lewis Black, but his frustration and general angst shows through most of the performance. At times it will bubble up when Burr wants to accentuate a point, or drive home a punch line; but the rest of the time it seems like he's just barely holding it together, creating some fun tension.

If you aren't familiar with Burr's work "Let It Go" is a fantastic introduction to the lifelong comedian who deserves more exposure. If you’re already a fan, then odds are you’ll place it atop your comedy pile and make it a go to stand-up special when you need someone to bring the funny.

DVD Bonus Features

As far as special features go for stand-up comedy DVDs, the pickings here are a little paltry. There are only three extra features, one being a short series of outtakes from the stand up special itself. They are short little parts of the routine that just didn't make it into the final cut. There is also a clip of Bill Burr's "Monday Morning podcast" that he records each week for his website. The final entry is a video clip of two interactions Bill had with audience members from his early stand up days. It feels a little random being included, but both offer extra insight into the comedic mind of Bill Burr.

"Bill Burr: Let It Go" is on sale September 18, 2010 and is not rated. Comedy, Television. Directed by Shannon Hartman. Written by Bill Burr. Starring Bill Burr.

Tom Hoeler
My major goals in life include proving to people that liking a movie and thinking is good are not the same, that watching black & white films will not reave your soul, and to one day organize my DVD collection (I have a strong desire against giving up my DVDs or their cases) autobiographically, High Fidelity, style.


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