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Ask Bill Burr: On Telling Your Boss He Stinks

Every week, comedian Bill Burr does his best to solve your problems. Although you may not always like his solutions... 


Dear Bill,
My boss has the most insanely bad breath. I feel like I am going to puke during meetings. What should I do?
Ben T


This problem sounds like it’s beyond the capabilities of gum or breath mints. I bet there is some sort of infection involved and your boss might need to see a dentist. SO….How do you tell the guy his breath stinks without jeopardizing your job or future promotions? (BTW I’m not assuming that your boss is male because I’m a chauvinistic pig, I’m assuming he’s male because women constantly bitch that most power positions are held by men. If your boss is female, I think that’s great. There needs to be more balance of power and less horrific Lifetime movies.) 

Back to your question: I don’t know how cool or crazy your boss is. Or how much you care about your current career path. So, here are three general approaches. Just pick the one that best suits your situation.

Walk in to your boss’ office like Clint Eastwood in one of those Spaghetti Westerns. With no fear in your eyes, and a “Hang ‘Em High” scarf tied around your neck, say, “Boss, with all due respect, your breath absolutely reeks and it’s making me pray for you to suffer an untimely death. If I have to continue to be subjected to the open sewer that is your pie hole, I might have to take action to facilitate your untimely demise. Or you could go see a fucking dentist. Your choice.”

Go buy 20 dollars worth of Big Red and Certs, sneak into your boss’ office, dump it all over his desk with a note that reads, “For the love of God, eat all of this before the next meeting. You’re killing us. – Sincerely, The Rest of the Company”

Have a girlfriend of yours (outside the work place) write a quick handwritten letter, in that giant lower case lettering that all junior high girls write in. Have the note convey that “she” is generally concerned about your boss’ breath and didn’t want to embarrass him by having a direct confrontation about it. Have her state that she thinks your boss is a good person and a great leader and is only trying to help.” Slip the note onto your boss’ desk, and sneak away.

Number 1 will most likely end with you being escorted out of the building. Number 2 is hilarious but really fucking mean. Number 3 is probably the nicest way to do it without anything being traced back to you. Ball is in your court - good luck!

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