Q&A: Bill Burr Takes Us Back to the ’70s with F Is for Family
Remember the days of disco, Sanford and Son, and when Star Wars (the first one) hit theaters? Bill Burr hopes to channel some of that ’70s nostalgia with his new Netflix show F Is for Family.
In the upcoming animated series, the Canton comic plays Frank Murphy, a no-nonsense and foul-mouthed father who has to deal with his family’s hijinks as well as an obnoxiously good-looking neighbor. It’s a bit like the Simpsons if it was set in the era of eight tracks, which isn’t a coincidence, since Simpsons scribe Mike Price helped create F Is for Family.
Adding to the hype, the series also stars a number of high profile actors, including Laura Dern, Justin Long, and Sam Rockwell.
“I basically have a lot of talent around me propping me up,” Burr explains.
Check out what else he had to say about working with such a talented cast, what he misses the most about the ’70s, and more.
Other than the music, what do you wish was still around from the ’70s?
The biggest thing I wish was still around from that era is kids playing outside unsupervised… I remember one time, me and my older brother rode our bicycles from my town all the way to downtown Stoughton along 138, which was like a two lane highway. We road all the way to McDonald’s and came back, and [my mother] had no idea until years later. And nobody stopped! I swear to God, we were like 11 and 9, and nobody pulled over and said, “What are you kids doing out here?”
Since you’re playing one in your show, do you have any favorite TV dads, especially from the ’70s?
It was the ’60s, but I like Bill Bixby on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. He seemed like a cool, understanding guy trying to figure things out. He was a very progressive dad, I thought, for back then. Other than that, I was watching the Monkees, the Banana Splits, Hong Kong Phooey.
How did you get involved in creating an animated comedy?
I was in a pitch meeting with Vince Vaughn’s company Wild West and I just threw it out there. They were looking to do an animated show and it happened very naturally without really trying to make this thing a show. After all of these years of trying to get shows on air, I walked into that meeting and was like, I don’t have any ideas, I don’t want a development deal. All it does is prevent me from being on s–t that is actually on the air. If you guys are making a movie, I’d love to be in it. That’s basically what I said. I was like, I do have this idea for an animated show and they were like, yeah, let’s hear it. And they loved it.
From Laura Dern to Sam Rockwell, you have a lot of great co-workers on F Is for Family. What was it like performing with them?
They all came from like an acting perspective where they had to do a number of takes, and you felt with each take it became more and more not them and just this person. It was insane! It was really insane to watch and that’s when I thought, “I don’t think I’m doing that with Frank, you guys are unbelievable.” I basically have a lot of talent around me propping me up. Don’t tell anyone.
‘F Is for Family’ debuts on Netflix Friday, December 18.
This interview has been edited and condensed.