Blader Digest: Breaking Blading

If you’re as big of a fan of Breaking Bad as I am—which I truly hope you are—you’ll be stewing a soup of deliciousness at how the show has built itself into its fifth and final season.

As the continuation of series five debuted on AMC Sunday night, a record-breaking 5.9 million people turned out to watch Walter White and family, Jesse Pinkman, and the rest of the Heisenberg-infused universe continue to unfold.

From score to script, the show embodies the perfectionist’s attitude toward writing not only compelling dialogue, but using cinematography that captures what cannot be captured in words.

There is, of course, major celebration over the actors who populate the screen before Vince Gilligan’s name appears.

What others may not know, and soon you will, is that the show features numerous rollerblading heroes, whether they will admit it on the record or not.

Let’s first start with blading’s comedic champion…

Bill Burr (a.k.a. ‘One little homophobic joke…)

On Breaking Bad, Bill Burr has bit parts as Saul Goodman’s henchman Kuby. If you’re not caught up on the show, I won’t ruin anything, but if you are, you know how great the above scene was to kick off season five and how great he was when he visited Ted at home.

The best part—besides Burr’s observational, angry East Coast, Carlin-esque white-man standup—is Burr’s stance on the joke.

We all know the joke. Hell, I was hit on by a gay standup comic while rollerblading and he uttered the joke we all know the punchline to: “What’s the hardest part of being a rollerblader?”

Well, in case you haven’t heard, Bill Burr had a joke about that joke at a highly-public event:

(Click here if your video player starts from the beginning, but you’d be doing yourself a favor if you listen to the whole thing.)

That, and he mentions it more than any non-blader would unless they were making fun of it.

Burr used to play roller hockey in the ’90s until ridicule from other comedic friends forced him to hang up his skates. As a comic, he chooses to make fun of the stereotype instead of supporting it.

Don’t believe me? Let’s check out his tour of Santa Monica in January along the boardwalk, the rollerblading walk of shame

In February, he talked about his blading past on his podcast. To quote him…

“Fuck you, I wasn’t going down the boardwalk wearing a fanny pack. If footage of me doing that ever surfaced, I’d swear it was Photoshopped.”

The next week on the same podcast, he was talking about deer and population control and naturally it went to rollerblading.

“Imagine if there were 7 billion deer on this planet and, for some fucked up reason, for like a four-year period, they all really got into rollerblading. Did I use this analogy already? I don’t remember. Let’s just say they all got into rollerblading and after four years it was considered gay…”

(Hear the rest for yourself by skipping to 32:00. Note: if you ever want to strike up a conversation with Don Bambrick, I suggest bringing up Bill Burr. Great conversation there. That, and Don shared this photo on Facebook last month that I’ve been dying [no pun intended] to share it here:)

Burr is so down with blading that Jon Robinson—that’s right, the grandpapa of Lake Owen and Minnesota blading—wants in so badly.

So, yeah, bladers, support Bill Burr. One of us…

Aaron Paul (A.K.A Boise’s Original Blading hero)

Aaron Paul shows up the Emmys with a shopping cart, collecting them like weird hair-cutted Midwest housewives on Supermarket Sweep.

Apparently back in his Idaho days, the guy was a bit of a jokester and blader…

And, yes, nearly every psudo news outlet that pulled the image off of Reddit and called it their own made a “What’s the hardest part…” joke. I shall refer you to the Bill Burr section of this article for further responses.

Tuesday, Paul did an AMA with Reddit and I tried asking him about it, but it was buried in the other 16,502 comments.

I know it was overlooked because of space, time, and traffic, but that’s a valid rollerblader/journalistic question. Or maybe I’m just an overzealous blader fanboy.

Either way, I did find a way to write about Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad, and other important shit and get paid for it via my day job. Do me a solid and give it a read. If you don’t want to, I’ll give you the lowdown—it’s about bullying, something you’ve never experienced ever.

As long as we’re talking about blading and Reddit, one of the /r/rollerblading mods, PROFESSIONAL_FART is hosting a photo contest. Winner gets some freshies, so it’s worth checking out here.

As far as Paul’s escapades on the blades, I wanted to check further and see if anyone could remember him.

Aaron Paul graduated Centennial High School a year early, putting him in the same age group as Erik Bill’s older siblings. (In case you didn’t know, Bill is one of the chiefs tribal elders of the NDN tribe, so his word should be treated with such authority.)

Seeings how I can’t think of rollerblading and Boise without thinking of Erik Bailey. I called him tonight and he and Paul went to different high schools, so he suggested I call fellow Erik-named Boise blader, Erik Bill, who graduated from , the alma mater of Aaron Paul (Sturtevant).

Erik Bill knows Paul because his sister used to hang out him and they used to play video games together. Erik’s a second-generation rollerblader, meaning his older brother got him into skating, so he had no immediate recollection of skating with Aaron. Even after Erik made a few phone calls to his older siblings, no one could recall him on blades.

Oh, well.

Then again, he started with a joke, so maybe being a rollerblader was a joke. Or, since everyone was rollerblading in high school at that time, maybe him doing it never stuck out.

First point last, the guy listed being an actor as a high school dream and look at him now…


And bravo to him as a fellow high school blader. Should he ever want to lace up again, we’d be proud to have him.

(Side note—AND SEASON FIVE SPOILER ALERT—Should Breaking Bad bladers want to skate Walt’s abandoned pool, they should contact blading’s premiere pool scout Drew Bacharach, something I wrote about in Be-Mag’s issue No. 39.)

(Further side note: should anyone need someone to film any kind of skate scene like the one in Sunday’s reveal of the final eight episodes, call Vinny Minton. He’s the best.)

Bryan Cranston (A.K.A. Say My Name)

(Before we even start, I must point out one completely self-serving point:  you can’t finish saying Bryan Cranston’s name without saying mine first.)

Long ago, Walter White had another family in the Tri-County area. He had five children, including a gifted son, Malcom, who sat somewhere in the middle. Before packing up, changing his identity, and becoming a genius, albeit jaded and misguided, chemist, Mr. White was an avid fan of having wheels under his feet.

It was so imperative to his being that Hal… ahem… Walter warned the young Malcom of the demise of following his his father’s bootsteps. He knew he was starting his son on such an addictive pathway not only required dedication, it involved sacrificing personal identity to break into closed schoolyards to dance as the howling moon demanded it…

Understand the addictive spirit created by wheels under boots, Hal capitalized on his knowledge of this addiction, learned chemistry, and became Walter White.

You may know him as Heisenberg.

Blade, Smoke Meth, and Die,

Brian Krans

P.S. — Like reading about drugs and rollerblading? You should check out my books (although there’s less rollerblading and more drugs)


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