Whether he's speaking from a stand-up stage, the Saturday Night Live studio or with the press, Bill Burr isn't afraid to sound off with an unpopular opinion or two. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 53-year-old comedian addressed his former Mandalorian co-star Gina Carano's public firing from the hit Disney+ Star Wars series over offensive social media posts. And in Burr's opinion, what happened to the MMA fighter-turned-actor was unfair.
"I thought it was funny that the liberals proved her point," Burr says, adding that he identifies as liberal himself. "It's disappointing to see the left become how the right used to be when they went after the Dixie Chicks after they criticized George W. Bush. There’s not a lot of people like that — most are just trying not to get in trouble — but there’s this small collection of lunatics either on the right or the left, at any given moment. that cause hysteria. And now there’s so many [media outlets] that want eyeballs, they make money off advertising, that they give attention to these crazy fringe people."
Burr's Mandalorian character, mercenary Migs Mayfield, appeared opposite Carano's rough-and-tumble brawler, Cara Dune, in the penultimate episode of Season 2, and the two got along well on set. "She was an absolute sweetheart. Super nice f****** person," the comedian remembered on a 2021 episode of The Bill Bert Podcast. At the time, it was widely rumored that Cara Dune would anchor a new Star Wars series, Rangers of the New Republic, based on the positive fan response to the character and Carano's performance.
But the actress's social media habits attracted renewed attention following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. Already known to have more conservative views, Carano challenged mask mandates in her Twitter feed, and seemed to ridicule the practice of sharing one's pronouns. As the "FireGinaCarano" hashtag started to gain steam on Twitter, Walt Disney and Lucasfilm finally parted ways with the actress in February 2021 after she shared a post on social media that suggested being a Republican in Hollywood was akin to being Jewish during the Holocaust. Carano later joined forces with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for the upcoming thriller, Terror on the Prairie, which was produced by Shapiro's media company, The Daily Wire.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter now, Burr says that he felt restrained from publicly defending Carano at the time of her firing. "You can’t chime in when the s***'s happening, because then you cause static for other people on the [show]. That somebody’s opinion — or their political beliefs — makes people try to destroy their ability to make a living, it’s f***ing bizarre to me."
"And I love the whole idea that somebody can go back eight years in somebody’s Twitter feed and be like, 'What about this?'" Burr continues. "Meanwhile, there are people who get paroled from prison every day who have done so much worse and they’re allowed to put their lives back together. You can have 20-year wars, you can create synthetic heroin, you can f***ing poison the food supply. You can do all of that s*** and it’s barely going to read … I could tell you five different topics that if I did jokes about, I would get more in trouble than the people who caused that."
Certainly, Burr got in some hot water for his blistering 2020 SNL monologue, where he joked about "cancel culture" and the "Karen" phenomenon. "How did you manage to be sexist, racist, AND homophobic in under 5 minutes?" marveled one Twitter critic. "I said exactly what I was thinking," the comedian remarks now, adding that he told the "Disney version" of those jokes to appease NBC.
"You can’t take one incident or one quote and say, 'That’s who you are,'" Burr observed in his interview. "It took me 50 years to figure out who I am, and I’ve been with me for 50 f***ing years. How are you going to figure out who I am in a joke?"