If you don’t follow comedians, you may think you don’t know Bill Burr — until you realize you’ve seen him in “Breaking Bad” as Saul Goodman’s henchman Patrick Kuby, along with movies like “Walk of Shame” and “The Heat.” And you’re about to hear his voice even more, when his animated “F is for Family” debuts on Netflix next month.
As far as stand-up goes, the veteran comic has left intimate clubs behind for stadium shows. We spoke with Burr ahead of his Friday stop at the Wells Fargo Center about making audiences laugh in Mumbai, and working with Laura Dern on “F is For Family.”
Earlier this year you toured in Singapore, Hong Kong, India — how is performing there compared to audiences at home?
It’s amazing to be on the other side of the world and there are people who know about you as a comedian. And to be doing shows in countries where the government chains people and puts people to death and they start saying, “Don’t talk about this, don’t talk about that.” I thought, “I’m going to get the s— kicked out of me.”
Did you edit anything out of your act?
I was going to. But in Singapore, the opening act just went off. He talked about religion, race, everything. It really put me at ease.
What are you going to be talking about in your Philly show?
Um… oceans being fished out. Talking gorillas. Sinking ships. [Laughs]
You often come back to environmental issues. Is that something you’re passionate about?
I watch a lot of nature shows. I did a tour of California and I saw the drought all over the state. I went deep-sea fishing at this place I’ve been going to for years, and there’s alarmingly less fish there. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t pay that much attention to it because it’s frightening. But fear is great for comedy. I do think we need less people — we should be having smaller families and let the fish come back so we have something to eat. [Laughs] But what do I know, I’m not a well-informed guy.
What can we expect from “F is For Family”?
It takes place in 1973. It’s about a guy who found the love of his life, but he knocked her up before he was ready to get married. He wanted to be a pilot but now he works at the airport and every day he sees his dream flying over him. It’s a period in history where you could physically discipline your kids in public, smoke with the car windows up, bring a gun to the airport.
What’s it been like working on it with Laura Dern?
She’s unreal. She has the entire range of skills as a performer. She’s just totally open — she’s not in her own way, she can just really go for it. It’s been quite a thrill working with such talented people. Sam Rockwell, Justin Long, Gary Cole, Mo Collins, Kevin Farley — all of these guys, I get to go into the booth with them, and you just get better as a performer being around them.
If you go:
On Saturday, Nov. 14, Burr performs in New York at Madison Square Garden. He'll be at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on New Years Eve.