The Takeaway Monday Morning Mood Reset: Bill Burr and the Philadelphia Incident [NSFW]

BurrWARNING: The following video contains extreme profanity, includes graphic descriptions and vulgar representations that go beyond the pale of what is considered appropriate in public or even private discussion. It is also the funniest thing I have seen in at least a decade – since Chappelle’s Show went AWOL – and easily one of the most courageous things you will ever see anybody do in front of an unruly mob, in this case, 15,000 sunbaked and drunken Philadelphians.

Comedian Bill Burr has balls of steel, but he’s actually pretty funny, too. As it was for me, perhaps this video will be your gateway into the comedy of Bill Burr. True story: I had only a vague recollection of Burr from his three appearances on the aforementioned Chappelle’s Show [in one episode, he plays the cop that gets whacked by Wayne Brady] and although I’m pretty sure I’d seen his stand-up routine, he really wasn’t on my Comedy Radar. Anyway, comedy is my thing – it’s my joint. As I mentioned in the Rodney Dangerfield post, I’m not interested in watching anything unless it’s funny. You wanna go to a movie? I don’t care if the theater has four movies: three potential Academy Award nominee/winning films a la Silver Lining Playbook, American Hustle, and Schindler’s List – AND then, let’s say Dumb & Dumber 2. There’s no question, we’re going to Dumb & Dumber 2, even though the first one didn’t make much of an impression on me. Or…we’re not going to the movies. Together.

Dave Chappellephoto by: Danielle LevittSame with television – although I admit to a weakness for NCIS and CSI: Miami. Regardless, here’s the gist of what I’m trying to say. Maybe I like comedy so much precisely because there isn’t enough of it in my daily life. Therefore, I’d say at least half of all my YouTube searches involve comedians. I’ve been on a George Carlin/Mitch Hedberg trip for a couple of months. Anyway, I came across a video of Carlin dealing with a heckler – a video for another time and not nearly as epic as what you’re about to see. From there, I used the sidebar to watch a few other videos of comedians destroying hecklers – Jimmy Carr has a couple of good beat downs. And then…I came across the Bill Burr in Philadelphia Incident. This is no exaggeration, I have watched this video more than two dozen times – all 13 minutes of it – and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes – from laughing so hard.

Backstory: Opie and Anthony, hosts of American talk radio/comedy program The Opie and Anthony Show on XM and Sirius Radio, hosted Opie and Anthony’s Traveling Virus comedy tour in 2006. The roster of comedians included Bob Saget, Jimmy Shubert, Jim Norton, Dom Irrera, Bob Kelly, Bill Burr, Ralphie May, Patrice O’Neal (R.I.P.), Otto and George (R.I.P.), Rich Vos and Tracy Morgan – a veritable Who’s Who of Upstart and Established Stars of Stand-Up Comedy.

On September 9, 2006, the gig at the Susquehanna Center in Camden, New Jersey (part of metropolitan Philadelphia – the towns are separated by the Delaware River), got off to a bad start. Philly fans are notoriously rude. They boo everybody; that’s their thing. But today, they met their match: Bill Burr. The first two comedians, Bob Kelly and Dom Irrera – the latter being from Philly – were mercilessly booed off stage. As the story goes, Burr was third; he was waiting and watching in the wings as both Kelly and Irrera were humiliated. Right before taking the stage, Burr said to Opie and Anthony, “They ain’t fuckin’ doin’ that to me!”

What happened next is legendary, and will stand as the greatest beat down of heckling in the history of comedy time. Enjoy!

Just in case you weren’t convinced about Philly’s reputation for being hard on performers, here’s Destiny’s Child getting booed at the 2001 NBA Finals – Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers – and nobody asked me, but I’d never heard this song before – “Bootylicious” – and I think on the merits of the music alone, they should have been booed out of the arena. Fuck Beyonce and all that Whitney Houston over-emoting uh-oh-oh-whoa-oh-oh-whoa-oh-oh-oh shit. They move around nice enough, it’s the music that makes this a four-minute ordeal, so fast-forward to about the 3:25 mark.

No matter what you do, keep the spirit of Bill Burr close to your heart as you face yet another Monday morning.

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