Bill Burr, comedy review: 'In wrestling with masculinity he shows a feminine underbelly'

The Forum, London

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The Independent Culture

For a gunslinging American comic like Bill Burr (albeit only aspiring to sling a .22 as we find out tonight) the Forum's rough and ready air seems apt, despite being a venue that says pogo more than punch line.

The 45-year-old comic from Boston - the city that has brought us other fiery and thoughtful redhead comics including Louis CK and Dennis Leary - postulates a no frills, no BS approach, but we soon learn this masks a series of neuroses.

Hotels make him feel safe from the chaos outside while anything above a propellor plane makes him feel uneasy. Perish the thought that he would show it though. “Deny your feelings, make a joke!” is the telling phrase Burr uses to shut up a man terrified during a rough internal flight to Albany.

Burr duly wrestles with concepts of masculinity, and in doing so shows a feminine underbelly. Meanwhile, he's unafraid to have some of his more insensitive ideas backfire on him, such as adopting a child soldier for protection.

There's soupçon of 1950s reds-under-the-beds paranoia about this all-American guy, underlined with his fascination with 'illuminati'. But Burr is not so unreconstructed that he can't smell a rat, his theory that bullies + nerds = mass destruction is a sign of his probing cynicism.