Bill Burr Might Be the Best Part of The Mandalorian

Matthew Donnellon

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If you would have asked me what celebrity would pop up in a Star Wars show I could probably come up with some names.

I'd most likely go with someone I knew loved Star Wars.

I'd guess Kevin Smith first. His entire career is based on being a geek and much of his early work was essentially long rants about Star Wars.

Or, I'd go with Felicia Day the resident Queen of the nerds.

I would not have thought that a certain mean spirited comedian from Beantown would be there.

Lo and behold, I'm watching and it's ol' Billy Red Face.

I love Bill Burr. It's between him and Dave Chappelle as my favorite comedian. There was a point when I could recite all his stand up by heart.

I knew he was in the show. I remember reading about it in the summer, but I had totally forgotten.

And boom, the bombastic Boston comic is spitting one liners all over the place.

It's the last place I would have thought to see him. But it looks like he stole the show a little.

Which is funny since he doesn't like Star Wars, as he told Men'sHealth,

“I was just too old by the time I saw Star Wars,” Burr said during an appearance on The Daily Beast's The Last Laugh podcast. “It was geared towards kids and I was watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High by the time it came out.”

The article also continued by saying, "the night before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Burr said that he missed the original Star Wars when it first came out, but when he finally saw it years later ("when I was like 27"), it felt like a “cheesy self-help book put in outer space with, like, Muppets.”

Despite this Burr was firing away.

Ryan Britt for Yahoo mentions that he got the best jokes and I think that's certainly true:

"In the episode, Burr plays a mercenary named Mayfeld, who is described as being a competent “triggerman.” Psuedo crime boss Ran (Mark Boone Jr.) mentions that Mayfeld was a “Former Imperial sharpshooter.” Mando quips, “That’s not saying much,” and Mayfeld (Burr) shoots back, “I wasn’t a stormtrooper, wiseass!”

He also makes a crack about the Mandalorian being a Gungan which is funny. And technically he could be. We have yet to see what's under the helmet.

Throughout the episode he's basically doing a one man show and constantly playing off his grumpy persona.

It's a nice change of pace too. And it plays well against the tension of the episode.

The Mandalorian tends to be a quiet show. 'Mando' doesn't talk much. His pint sized cohort doesn't talk at all so having someone who can chew the scenery a bit shakes things up a little.

And no one could have played it better. Burr's Mansfield is jerk, but funny enough that you still kind of like him. No one walks that line better than Burr as that's been his schtick since he stepped on stage.

Though it does raise some questions.

Burr retains his Boston accent. Does this mean there's a planet region where this comes from? A space Boston.

Are there Star Warsian versions of other Boston people? Is Matt Damon solving equations while working as a janitor in MIT? Is there a Storm Trooper that looks like Ben Affleck? Are there space Wahlbergs?

Now that Burr has shown up here. There are some other comedians I'd like to see.

Couldn't you see videos of Andrew Shulz guessing if someone was part Twi'lek?

Or Dave Chappelle making fat jokes about the Hutts?

Jerry Seinfeld asking "What's the deal with blue milk?

I thought he was a great addition to the cast. I was disappointed when I thought he was only going to be on one episode.

Then last week on The Mandalorian, Mando asks for Cara Dune’s help in locating Mayfield, so I knew he’d be back.

And this episode didn’t disappoint, as it begins with Gina Carano and Pedro Pascal springing Burr’s character.

They need him to access a former Imperial database so they can find Moff Gideon’s ship and rescue Baby Yoda.

Mando and Mayfield have to sneak into the base using a stolen transport.

And this introduces one of two moments where Burr really shines in this episode. Mayfield’s whole schtick, other than being a former Stormtrooper, is that he’s always making wisecracks.

Not unlike Burr’s real life persona.

He makes fun of Mando for always wearing a helmet and the nature of his creed. He has a point, people will abandon convictions when it gets convenient.

Also, Burr makes the scene fun. He’s poking fun at The Mandalorian and Star Wars at large. Star Wars is at its best when it’s not taking itself too seriously. Part of the original movie’s charm was Harrison Ford poking fun at how silly their mission was and you could tell he really wasn’t taking the movie seriously at all. To him it was just a gig. He had no idea Star Wars would be so successful, and often changed his lines because he thought the whole thing too dorky.

Burr does the same here. At the end of the day, he’s sitting there with a guy who won’t take his helmet off trying to get his little green puppet back.

Burr also does an amazing job once inside. Where before, he was always the comedian, it lends contrast when even he takes an earnest tone. He’s speaking to a former commander about a former mission. He talks about the men he served with. He stops becoming a Stormtrooper and is turner into a battle weary veteran who saw all his friends die.

It was brilliant and gave insight into the fact that Stormtroopers are people too. Yes, they sort of did this with Finn, but he was quickly relegated to being a side character and they hardly brought his Imperial past up.

Most of the time, Stormtroopers are just there for the good guys to mow down. They’re like Nazi’s in Indiana Jones, or zombies in the Walking Dead.

But Burr made them all human. When you’re kid you cheer when Luke destroys the Death Star, but after this you remember oh yeah he also killed like half a million people.

In the end Burr also has a great moment where he pretends to not see his face to preserve Mando’s creed. At the end of the day, he knows Mando was foregoing his beliefs to get his kid back.

"You did what you had to do. I never saw your face," will go down as one of my favorite lines I've ever heard. It was so real, and made Mayfield all the more likeable.

And he redeems Stormtroopers’ legendary inaccuracy by taking out the whole base with a single shot.

Bill Burr was perfect in the role. He brought the jokes when needed and helped make the world feel more real.

And now Mayfield gets to ride off and start his intergalactic comedy career. Personally, I’m hoping to see a Tatooine rant similar to a certain Philadelphia one.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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