This year, there’s so much happening at #JFL42 and so much more to come, but we kicked off our Toronto experience in the best way possible- seeing Bill Burr play the Sony Center.
I was excited about this show- and you could tell so was everyone else waiting to get in. You could hear from the types of conversations happening outside that Burr had had a great audience, true comedy fans, filing into the theater. And they turned out to be a fantastic audience for stand-up powerhouse Bill Burr.
But before Burr blew everyone away, first up was his regular opener– Paul Virzi. I got to hang out with Burr outside the Stand this past summer when I was in New York City, so this was a big thrill. He is hilarious and I knew the crowd would love him, and they did! I’ve never heard that kind of response to an opener. Virzi has clearly moved into his own, and its obvious that Burr only continues to use him as an opener to help him get the visibility and recognition he deserves. I can’t emphasize enough how strong he was on stage, and how much the audience loved him. Virzi did a great job of warming up the crowd and setting up the kind of show that it was going to be– a no holds bar laugh marathon. Virzi really impressed the crowd, can’t emphasize that enough. Virzi by the way, just recorded his first hour special in Tarrytown, NY and Burr was in the house for the taping, giving support. You gotta love that.
When Burr came out you could tell the crowd was already pleased with the show. He started swinging immediately about hurricanes being good for society and the fact that Canadians are eerily hiding something, I felt like shouting out Natives!!! He also has the solution to the whole North Korean crisis and he made some great points about Bill Cosby being white at the end of the day.
Fans who have a secret or not so secret love and admiration for Bill Burr’s infamous rant against Philadelphia many lifetimes ago, will enjoy this- at one point he mistakenly said L.A. instead of Toronto and the crowd booed. To which he responded by having a mini Philadelphia moment and started roasting Toronto for its traffic, lackluster skyline and reminding us all how we could do better.
He repeatedly went into subjects that wouldn’t seem like the right topics for a Canadian crowd, but got huge laughs every time. In the few moments when the crowd seemed to tighten up a bit, he addressed it, explaining why they were tight, and it was always hilarious.
This was Burr’s first trip to Toronto since becoming a new dad, and talking about what has changed, he admitted that he had to give up his dog for his new baby, and told the crowd that he has started meditating. Does this mean we might be seeing the start of a new Bill Burr?
The Toronto JFL42 Comedy Festival continues through September 30th. Go to their website for tickets and information.