Bill Burr Tells Bill Maher Cancel Culture Is Over

Burr’s take: ‘No one cares anymore’
Bill Burr Tells Bill Maher Cancel Culture Is Over

Bill Maher told Bill Burr that he loved Louis C.K.’s latest movie, Fourth of July. That mini-review gave Maher the perfect entry point to climb on his weekly cancel culture soapbox. “Don't get me started on that,” Maher said about a topic he brings up himself on every Club Random podcast. “Isn't it time everyone just went, ‘Okay. It wasn’t a cool thing to do, but it’s been long enough. And welcome back to the work.’” 

“They took $50 million from (C.K.),” Burr agreed. “I think they punished him.”

“Enough, enough,” grumbled Maher. “It's not the end of the world. People have done so much more worse things and gotten less. There's no rhyme or reason to the #MeToo-type punishments.” 

While Burr agreed that C.K. did the crime and did his time, he and Maher split ways on the current state of comedy affairs. What Maher calls cancel culture “started off with something everyone could agree on and then quickly it just spun out,” Burr said. “I remember when that cancel culture got to the point of where it was ‘I don’t like some of the topics in your standup act,’ that’s when it got weird. But that’s all over. It’s all over.” 

Maher was incredulous. Over? “What, cancel culture?”

“No one cares anymore,” said Burr.

“That’s so untrue,” Maher protested. “Either one of us could get canceled in the next two minutes.”

But Burr wasn’t buying it. No one’s getting canceled if they’re not doing anything heinous. The topic made Burr “feel like I’m going back two years of my life,” he said. “I don’t even think about it anymore. Nice ashtray, by the way.”

“Nice ashtray, by the way,” was Burr’s way of diverting Maher onto other comedy topics, a ploy that somehow worked. Why not when there were plenty of other things to disagree about? 

For example, Burr talked about his frustration as a young comic when he felt lesser talents were passing him by. “The hardest thing I experienced when I was coming up was watching people that were good at the business and I wasn't,” he told Maher. It was around the time that comedians like Dane Cook were blowing up on early social media, leading Burr and other comics to conclude, “I'm going to get on Myspace and then I'm going to sell tickets like that.”

But Myspace didn't work for everyone. Burr realized that Cook was the equivalent of a pop star with “that megawatt, electrifying thing and all the girls love them.” Burr couldn't compete with comics who had that pop-star charisma. “You have to be all right with that.”

“That's not comedy, that's music,” Maher argued before coming up with examples of comics with that same appeal, like Eddie Murphy and Russell Brand. 

“Dane had it. Matt Rife has it,” countered Burr. “They have that It Factor.”

Burr’s point: There’s no point in trying to be Murphy or Rife if that’s not your personality or allure. And some white-hot comics like Cook will simply go the way of boy bands and other pop stars. “You reach a level of maturity like, ‘Fuck this. I’m doing what I’m doing, and wherever this takes me, this takes me,’” he concluded. “And I have to be okay with that.”


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