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How comedian Bill Burr discovered one silent moment was as powerful as laughter

By in Press Enterprise on August 30, 2017

By Stephanie Schulte

Most comedians gauge when they’re hitting a home run onstage when the audience is roaring with laughter, but for Bill Burr it was the sound of silence that struck him years ago.

“I was performing at Nick’s Comedy Stop in a suburb of Boston and was doing my set and was just killing it,” Burr said during a recent phone interview. “You get up there and tell this joke and that joke and you’re terrified of the silence. And for the first time, I paused.”

Although the pause was only a couple of seconds, Burr said it felt like five minutes and allowed him to give a laughing woman in the audience a look, which got the crowd going again.

In that moment knew he was on his way to comedic heights.

A few years earlier Burr took the stage for the first time at a comedy competition – which he didn’t win, but he was hooked.

“I always knew I was funny in high school, but I also knew where I was in the pecking order so if there was too many football players or cheerleaders in the class I sort of stood down,” he said. “Retrospectively, I shouldn’t have.”

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