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Bill Burr criticized for mispronouncing singer's name at Grammys premiere ceremony

Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY
·5 min read
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Bill Burr's comments at the 2021 Grammys are sparking social media backlash.

While presenting a series of awards at the premiere ceremony before the show Sunday, the stand-up comedian started off by joking about the preceding piano performance.

"Was I the only one who wanted to kill himself during that piano solo?" Burr said while making his way onstage. "I bought a suit for this. I thought it was gonna be on TV. I'm such a moron, I'm losing so much money right now."

Burr presented the awards for best Latin rock or alternative album and best tropical Latin album, as well as announcing the winner of the regional Mexican music award, during which Burr joked that he couldn't pronounce winner Natalia Lafourcade's name.

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In this screengrab, Bill Burr speaks onstage for the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony broadcast on March 14, 2021.
In this screengrab, Bill Burr speaks onstage for the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony broadcast on March 14, 2021.

"I can't say this name. Natalie what?" he said, later attempting to pronounce her last name and apologizing.

"If I butchered her name, I'm sorry. Natalie you won," he added while accepting the award on her behalf.

After his mistake, Burr tried to make light of the situation, predicting that the audience would react negatively to a white man presenting these awards.

"The feminists are going nuts. Why is the cis-white male doing all this Latino stuff?" he quipped.

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Some Grammy viewers took to Twitter to criticize Burr's comments, with user @tyongiyoung calling his jokes about the piano solo "rude, completely uncalled for and very insulting to every classical musician out there."

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"The @RecordingAcad needs to own up to this failure of selecting Bill Burr as a presenter," @kittievante wrote. "What a terrible choice. He clearly does not recognize how important this is for artists."

Fans of Lafourcade also criticized Burr for mispronouncing the singer's name, with user marya zamora noting that he could've at least practiced the names prior to the show.

"You could've EASILY asked anyone from the show to tell you how to pronounce it," she wrote.

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Others defended Burr, noting that his "controversial" jokes are an expected part of his humor.

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"Bill Burr is trending because some folks are outraged over something he said at the Grammys which can only mean some folks have just seen Bill Burr for the first time," user Kevin Maguire wrote.

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"Wait... we're getting mad at @billburr for being Bill Burr?" another user wrote.

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Some users added that Burr's presentation was "the highlight" of the Grammys.

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"@billburr was amazing as the presenter of the #GRAMMYS. Thank you for always being hilarious," user Matt Carrico wrote.

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Bill Burr: 'SNL' host divides fans after controversial opening monologue

This isn't the first time Burr's comments have drawn backlash on social media. His "Saturday Night Live" monologue in October divided fans, as the comedian joked about white women who "somehow hijacked the woke movement."

"Somehow, white women swung their Gucci booted feet over the fence of oppression and stuck themselves at the front of the line," Burr said.

He added that he has "never heard so much complaining in my life from white women."

"I love that Bill Burr made a perfect joke about white women making everything about us and then a bunch of white women on Twitter lost their minds because they think it was a mean joke. Thus....proving his point," user Alaina Urquhart wrote.

"Made it about one minute into Bill Burr’s SNL monologue before I had to change the channel. In this cultural moment, SNL really thought the best choice for a host was a white male standup ranting about 'Cancel Culture?' " user Sally Hourigan tweeted.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bill Burr criticized for Grammys 2021 presentation, jokes