As a diehard Boston sports fan, comedian Bill Burr is having a pretty tough time coming up with jokes about hometown heroes like Big Papi and Rob Gronkowski, who’ll share the dais at the “Roast of David Ortiz” on June 22.
Although the 48-year-old Canton native isn’t sure how he’ll poke fun at the Boston slugger and his famous pals, he has no trouble taking aim at the racist Red Sox fans who’re giving locals a bad rap. Let’s just say the always-irreverent comic has a few choice words for these shameless attendees.
Ahead, Burr breaks down his lack of a game plan for the upcoming roast, his favorite Big Papi moments and his thoughts on the recent controversies at Fenway.
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Are you excited or intimidated to roast Big Papi?
Neither, I’m confused. I’m not intimidated. I don’t have to fight the guy. Everyone on the dais has won championships. They all have rings. I don’t have a problem with any of them, so I’m really trying to figure out what there is to roast.
You don’t typically do roasts. Is this a comedy format you enjoy?
I only do it when it’s a good friend of mine. This is like an exception because the Red Sox have done stuff for me, and I’ve done benefits and stuff like that. They wanted me on this thing, so obviously I’m going to do it. But human-being-to-human-being, I’ve got nothing against this guy. We’ve never hung out, so it’s going to be a little challenging.
What’s your favorite Big Papi moment?
Every at- bat that he had against the Yankees. Nobody ever earned the nickname the “Yankee Killer” my entire time watching the Red Sox until he came along. I was living in New York at the time, and just to watch Yankee fans at sports bars, watching their shoulders slump when he came to the plate, the way we used to when anyone of their great players would step up there. I was in New York City when we lost in ’99. I was there when we lost in ’03. And I was there when we were down 0-3 in 2004. I remember this New York City cop laughing at me because of my hat. I couldn’t wait to run into him again, but I never saw him again. That still kills me.
What about Gronk?
All of them are the same. They step up in big moments and win championships. I think Gronk plays up that whole Gronk thing. You can’t be a moron and memorize a playbook. You just can’t. I think a lot of people would like to think that because it makes them feel better about themselves. It’s like Jessica Simpson. Everyone’s like, “Oh my God, she’s so dumb.” It’s like really? She has a hit record and her own TV show. People can only bring you along so far. I just think he’s a fun guy.
As a lifelong Boston sports fan, were you sad to see the recent controversies out of Fenway?
I don’t understand how someone still thinks that way, and I don’t understand how someone does that and nobody’s saying anything. It’s 2017. That’s pretty pathetic. That was an embarrassment. It’s such a cowardly thing to do. But people, they don’t feel any shame.
If you go:
Thursday, June 22, 6:30 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Landsdown St., Boston, $34-$300. livenation.com.