Bill Burr wasn’t someone I had ever really intended on seeing live. In fact, I work part time for the box office at the local arena and his tickets went on sale months ago. When I want to see a show, I get my tickets early. Needless to say, I didn’t know much about the comedian or his rumored “incredible podcast”. So when my friend Kevin asked me if I’d like to go with him to see this guy, I was a little hesitant. Meredith, be nice. Kevin goes with you to a lot of shows you ask him to go to. It’s only fair to go with him to something he wants to go to.
And for a while, it was alright. Kevin asked just days before Bill’s appearance in Kansas City, and didn’t say much leading up to it. I thought he had totally abandoned the thought. The night before, however, he asked again. He said the other people in our group of friends were out, but that he still wanted to go if I wanted to go. Of course I don’t want to go. But what else am I doing? (On a Saturday night, mind you.) I bit the bullet and committed.
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I couldn’t tell one celebrity from the next on television most days, but for some reason my sister and I have this crazy celeb-radar. We walk on the street–streets of San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City, Kansas City, London, whatever–and we encounter celebrities. I kid you not, my sister was pointing out British celebrities to me like crazy when we studied abroad. It’s a strange, keen power that we have. So leave it to me to make eye contact with Bill Burr before the show. I had had Kevin park a couple blocks away so we could walk up and get tickets at the box office (because no, we didn’t get our tickets in advance), and we were walking in the shade of Alamo Drafthouse. I looked up, and saw a man in a black NorthFace puffy coat, jeans, and a ball cap. We locked eyes and I thought, Man that dude looks familiar. And then I thought, Weirdo is wearing a NorthFace jacket and walking with a woman that is entirely too young for him.
After a moment of walking, I realized who I had seen. (My superhero in high school was “Delayed Reaction Man,” so that makes sense.) I did a quick Google search to verify, and turned to Kevin and told him who we had just passed. He was frustrated with me for about 30 seconds for not saying anything, but I had to remind him my reaction time is super slow sometimes. He made fun of me. We went on with our evening. We sat down (in the last row of the lower level because we got cheap seats of course) and I was pleased to see that the smiley, red-lipped face I saw walking with Bill actually belonged to the first act. She was his opener, Jade Catta-Preta, in all her tiny, gorgeous, high energy glory. They had been walking around downtown for God knows what reason, just moments before she was set to take the stage. Good for them. Keep yourself moving on tour!
Jade was such a presence. She started out garnering less laughter than she probably deserved, but that lasted for three minutes max. Most of her set consisted of sex jokes, but they were a bit more educated than your run-of-the-mill sex jokes. (I’m sure you understand what I mean, so I’m not going to explain this.) She had a candor that made me giggle at everything she said, even if it was just a fact.
“So my boyfriend and I live in an apartment.” **Maniacal giggling.** “I ate at Q39 today.” **Maniacal giggling while everyone cheers.**
Never mind the fact that I was giggling so much I couldn’t hear her justify why they went to Q39, as there are so many other phenomenal barbecue restaurants in Kansas City. (Don’t get me wrong. I love Q39. I just know it’s not the go-to for tourists, so I was a bit flummoxed.) But of course then I was fixated on the fact that I was probably laying in bed earlier that day–on a lazy Saturday–while she feasted two blocks from my apartment. That is neither here nor there.
While we were sitting there, I realized I recognized her from something and I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. Then I realized I had seen her on ads for the television series Manhattan Love Story which–sadly–was not a hit and ended after just 11 episodes. (I have since come to find that she has appeared on 2 Broke Girls, Crunch Time, Angel from Hell, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Californication, among others.) So she isn’t a newbie in the biz is all I’m sayin’.
I’m just sad I have to play catch up. I feel like I’m supposed to be the hipster go-to of music and comedy. And clearly, I’m wrong.
Not to mention I didn’t expect much from Bill Burr himself, and I was dead wrong. (See? Notsomuch a hipster anymore, guys. I am not the first person to identify talent.) Bill is an established comic, and I figured that if he were really that great, I would have seen him in passing (not on the street before the show) or experienced his comedy before that night without seeking it. I was SO wrong.
Bill Burr’s comedic stylings originated on the second season Chapelle’s Show. (Which I never watch, but have family members that LOVE it.) He played Patrick Kuby on Breaking Bad. (A show I’ve only seen the last and first episodes of, in that order.) He’s even appeared on New Girl, but it was an episode I wasn’t paying too much strict attention to. (What gives?) So, you see, I have just narrowly missed him all these years.
He made up for lost time.
He joked about the line at Joe’s Kansas City, and how they opted for Q39 instead because of that damn line. (Which explains all the questions I had during Jade’s set.) He talked about having the meat sweats–which actually brought him off-topic several times, and made the set even funnier. He talked about people who eat McDonald’s and how he sometimes craves it. (I’ve got to admit, when he brought it up all I wanted was a cheeseburger and some of them fries, and that’s not even something I crave regularly!) He joked about having red hair, and then the fact that he was balding. He threw in some comedy about his marriage and traveling and population issues and, really, there wasn’t a topic that he didn’t cover.
What I respect and admire about both he and Jade is that they have the most incredible comedic timing. They work off-the-cuff a lot more than I have seen in the past, which makes their comedy feel more personalized and in the moment. That was something that I heard wide praise about after the show. People acknowledge that real life, every day occurrences are hilarious and they appreciate anyone who can voice their thoughts in that humorous way.
I tip my (imaginary) hat to you, Bill Burr, for changing my mind. And also to Jade Catta-Preta, for becoming easily one of my top 5 favorite girl comics of all time.
Meredith has spent her life pin balling across America. She is often referred to as an entrepreneur, photographer, writer, and multi-media maven. She would label herself “butcher,” “baker,” and “candlestick maker.” (Hint: One of these is not true.) She is currently trying to find the perfect design for the DIY ukulele her twin gave her for Christmas. You can find her random musings on Twitter and Instagram.