First gaining notoriety following his recurrent role on the second season of Chappelle’s Show, Bill is now a familiar face on the stand up comedy circuit as well as appearing on a number of TV shows.
Referred to as a ‘comedian’s comedian’ by some observers of the U.S. stand up comedy circuit, his work is followed and appreciated by the public and fellow professional comedians alike.
As well as success in the field of stand up comedy, Bill records a weekly one hour-podcast covering various personal experiences and observations and can also be seen in the fourth and fifth season of ‘Breaking Bad’.
If you’ve not had the chance to catch any of Bill’s sets, I’ve just included a few of my personal choices from his stand up routine:
- You know what a cubicle basically says? It basically says, like, ‘You know what? We don’t think you’re smart enough for an office, but we don’t want you to look at anybody’.
- I’d be like, ‘Lady, get the hell away from me! You’re old, you’re gross…I’m sorry. I’m sure you were unbelievable back in the 20’s, when you were doing the Charleston, making beer in your bathtub, but you’re at least four decades past humpable. I’m sorry.’
- There’s no ‘brothers’ when it comes to white people. We are just complete individuals. We don’t care about each other. He’s not my brother, my brother lives in Ohio…I don’t know that guy.
- A good story is always you doing something wrong, you know? That’s why nice people are so damn boring. I mean, they’re nice, but their stories suck.
- You’re a kid, your whole life is awesome. It’s awesome right? You had no money, no ID, no cell phone, no nothing, no keys to the house. You just ran outside into the woods. You weren’t scared of nothing. I challenge you to do that as an adult. All your ID’s, all your credit cards…just run out of the house with no phone, turn the corner where you can’t see your house, and not have a full on panic attack.
Like many aspiring stand up comedians, I realised I had a talent for making people laugh at quite a young age. A couple of my old school reports even have mention of me being the class clown, something my Mom and Dad were not exactly proud of as I recall! As I got older, I did what was expected, got good grades, went to university and after graduating just kind of fell into a career as most of us do I guess. Mom and Dad were happy, but the thought that for the rest of my days I would be wearing a suit and tie, working 9-5 and having a perfectly manicured lawn in the ‘burbs filled me with dread. I fell back to comedy as my escape.
I’d been a regular at the comedy clubs in the city and as an avid comedy fan I already knew from various stand up comedians biographies that a career in stand up comedy is not as easy road. Even knowing it would be difficult, I knew that my dream was to work as a stand up comedian. All I needed to work out, was if I could be brave enough to take the step?
I’d done my research and so I knew what I had to do. I rehearsed at home, usually videoing my ‘routine’ so I could watch it back to work on hesitations or areas I needed to improve. I had started making notes of all the things that I might be able to write about, so each evening, I would try work on my comedy writing. I wasn’t brave enough yet to tell family, so for my first ‘public’ performance I bribed some colleagues with an offer of free food and drink if they were willing to subject themselves to my routine. Some were honest enough to give me critical feedback which though a little tough at first, was valuable in helping me shape my performances in future.
I then hit any and all open mic events in the vicinity and after doing this for just over a year, I started sending my comedy resume to club owners to try and get bookings. So far, I’ve sent out more than I can count and only managed to get a handful of paid bookings.
I won’t lie, it really is as tough as they say it is. I’m holding down my day job still and performing and writing most evenings. But what makes all the effort worthwhile is getting on stage and knowing I am making people laugh.