Did Bill Burr Philosophize About ‘Sleeping on a Futon When You’re 30’?

A popular meme quoted the stand-up comic philosophizing about risk, reward, and futons.

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Person, Human, Musician
Image via Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Claim

Comedian Bill Burr once said "Sleeping on a futon when you're 30 is not the worst thing" and "There's a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe."

Rating

Correct Attribution
Correct Attribution
About this rating
Context

The quotation presented in a popular meme removed numerous curse words, but was otherwise a loyal representation of something Burr said during a March 2012 episode of his Monday Morning Podcast.

Origin

In the summer of 2021, an old quote widely attributed to the comedian Bill Burr re-emerged online. In it, the Boston comic riffs on status, happiness, risk, and “sleeping on a futon when you’re 30.”

For example, on Aug. 4, popular posts on Reddit and Imgur featured a meme containing a photograph of Burr, and the following quotation:

Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. You know what’s worse, sleeping in a king bed next to a wife you’re not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple of kids, and you got a job you hate. You’ll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There’s no risk when you go after a dream. There’s a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe. — Bill Burr

The quotation was a substantially, though not entirely accurate transcription of something Burr said back in 2012, and as such we are issuing a rating of “Correct Attribution.” The version shown in the meme significantly cleaned up the language of the original, which — reader’s note — is littered with curse words.

The quotation originated in a March 2012 episode of Burr’s popular and long-running Monday Morning Podcast, and can be listened to further below. Responding to a reader who had emailed him about his love of dancing, Burr turned to the subject of pursuing one’s dream, and the fear of failure:

…Your big fear should be what everybody’s big fear is. Like “What if I fucking go after this dream, and I’m 30, and I’m sleeping on a fucking futon, and it hasn’t happened yet?” Well I’ve got to tell you something, Sir — I’ve been there. I was there at fucking 34, I was still sleeping on a futon in a fucking studio apartment that they called a “one-bedroom” ‘cos they slammed a fucking wall in there and put a door on it.

…All you’ve got to do, you’ve just got to commit to this shit, and then realize that, you know, sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. It isn’t. You know what’s worse than sleeping on a futon at 30? Sleeping in a king bed next to a fucking woman you’re not really in love with but for some reason married. And you’ve got a couple of kids and you’ve got a job that you fucking hate. Ok? You’ll be laying there fantasizing about fucking sleeping on a futon. 

There’s no risk when you go after a dream. It’s all fucking reward. It’s all going to lead to something good. It always does. There’s a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe, and that leads to unbelievable levels of regret — which is something else I’ve also experienced, because I’m an old motherfucker.