Bill Burr, Bobby Kelly and Joe DeRosa have been friends for a long time. Burr and Kelly have known each other since their early days as comedians in the 1990s comedy scene in Boston, and the two met DeRosa some 8 years ago. They say their friendship was cemented when they overheard DeRosa involved in a heated argument with the manager of a strip club over his use of the word "grinding." Apparently, the exchange had started over some false 2-for-1 lap dance advertising, and when the manager debased the weight of DeRosa's message with the crass epithet, the comedian was enraged. That was the moment Burr and Kelly knew this was a guy they liked being around.
We've been a fan of each of these comedians for years, all of whom have had their own specials, albums and ongoing tours. But we sat down with them recently because of their collaborative efforts on numerous projects, most notably, their short film "Cheat," which has been playing to sold out audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The synopsis of "Cheat" goes like this:
Cheat is the comedic story of three friends on a mission to pull off the perfect score. When the neurotic Joe has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity fall into his lap, he realizes he lacks the experience to get the job done, so he enlists the help of his crooked yet calculating pals Bill and Bobby to make it happen.
To tell you anything more about it would be a disservice. All we will say is that it is extremely funny and self-aware, and mines the apparent vacancy of the modern guy for all he's worth. It was written by its three stars, directed by DeRosa, and it also features other recognizable faces from the comedy world including Rich Vos, Bonnie McFarlane and Colin Quinn.
But as much as we enjoyed the short, we enjoyed our interview with the three guys almost as much. The genuine affection and chemistry between them is a delight to watch, even as they chastise each other mercilessly.