Bill Burr's 'SNL' opening monologue draws mixed reactions for hitting controversial topics

The comedian joked about racism, Pride month and cancel culture

Bill Burr received mixed reviews on social media for his controversial opening monologue during the most recent episode of “Saturday Night Live.” 

The 52-year-old comedian opened the show with a set that covered hot-button topics such as race, cancel culture and Pride month that had some viewers taking to social media to voice their displeasure. 

Burr, who is known for his aggressive and off-color comedy style, came out in a gray mask that he promptly took off before launching into a wild opener that had the audience at times cringing as well as laughing. 

He noted that he personally likes seeing people listen to the “eggheads” and wear masks, but joked that he doesn’t mind if people choose not to wear them.

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“Take out your grandparents, take out your weak cousin with the asthma. It’s your decision,” he joked. “There are too many people. It’s a dream come true. If you’re that dumb and you want to kill all your family members, by all means, do it.”

He also took on the topic of cancel culture, joking that he’ll probably fall victim to it soon. 

Bill Burr courted controversy with his 'Saturday Night Live' opening monologue.

Bill Burr courted controversy with his 'Saturday Night Live' opening monologue. (Will Heath/NBC)

“They’re trying to cancel John Wayne. It’s like, ‘Yeah dude, God did that 40 years ago!' They’re all up in arms. They’re like, ‘Did you hear what he said in that interview in Playboy in 1970? Can you believe that?'"

The star was referencing a resurfaced interview the late Western star gave in which he said racist remarks about the Black community in America.

“Yeah, he was born in 1907; that’s what these people sounded like,” Burr said. “You’ve never talked to your grandparents and brought up the wrong subject?”

Burr moved on to assert that white women have taken over the “woke movement” that was supposed to be for people of color in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May.  

“The way white women somehow hijacked the woke movement, generals around the world should be analyzing this,” the comedian said. “The woke movement was supposed to be about people of color not getting the opportunities, the at-bats that they deserve, finally making that happen. And it was about that for about 8 seconds and then somehow white women swung their Gucci-booted feet over the fence of oppression and stuck themselves at the font of the line.”

The audience began to turn on Burr a little bit when the host suggested that an entire month for gay pride is too much. 

“That’s a little long, don’t you think? For a group of people that were never enslaved,” he said, eliciting some groans from the crowd. “How did they get all of June? Dude, black people were actually enslaved. They get February. They get 28 days of overcast weather, sun goes down at 4 in the afternoon, everyone is shivering, no one wants to go on the parade. Look, how about you hook ‘em up with July? These are equator people. Give them the sun for 31 days!”

The monologue drew some pointed critiques on social media shortly after Saturday’s broadcast.

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"It’s amazing Bill Burr is trying to be woke while being a misogynist POS. White Male Privilege is strong within this Louis CK clone. #SNL," one person wrote

"Umm, @billburr yeah you're cancelled. How did you manage to be sexist, racist, AND homophobic in under 5 minutes? #SNL," another wrote.

"i didn’t even smile at bill burr, let alone chuckle. that was terrible. just let jim carrey take over. #SNL," a third person wrote.

Others took to Twitter to defend the comedian and praise his act. 

"Checking the Bill Burr trending tab and seeing it literally being 50% black people laughing at him making fun of white women and 50% white women mad at him for making fun of white women," one user wrote

"Bill Burr makes valid points about cancel culture trying to cancel EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. Then delivers jokes designed to prove that exact point. And twitter took the bait. Comedy is not for you. It’s about you. #billburr #snl," wrote another.

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"Bill Burr speaking TRUTH about Black History Month, tho," tweeted another person.