Burrell grew up together with three siblings. After he had completed the Hidden Valley High School in Grants Pass, he studied until 1993 at the Southern Oregon University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in theater arts. He then graduated to 1997 to a master's degree from Penn State University.
In 1996 he made his debut in the award-winning television series Ellen. In the SF Comedy Evolution ( 2001), he played alongside David Duchovny and Julianne Moore. In the comedy In Good Company (2004 ), he starred opposite Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson. In the years 2005 and 2006 he appeared in the television series Out of Practice Stockard Channing and Jennifer Tilly next.
Burrell played in the comedy Friends With Money (2006 ) on the side of Jennifer Aniston. In the film drama Fur - An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) he played the role of Allan Arbus, the husband of Diane Arbus, played by Nicole Kidman. For the role of the father Phil Dunphy on the show Modern Family in 2011 he won an Emmy.
Burrell also occurred in some plays. He is married.
- 2000-2003: Law & Order (TV series, two episodes)
- 2001: Black Hawk Down
- 2001: Evolution
- 2001: The West Wing - The West Wing ( The West Wing, TV series, one episode)
- 2002: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (TV series, one episode)
- 2004: Dawn of the Dead
- 2004: In Good Company ( In Good Company )
- 2005-2006: Out of Practice - Doktor, single sucht ... (Out of Practice, TV series, 21 episodes)
- 2005: Down in the Valley
- 2006: Friends with Money ( Friends with Money )
- 2006: The Darwin Awards
- 2007-2008: Back to You (TV series, 17 episodes)
- 2007: The Legacy: Book of Secrets ( National Treasure: Book of Secrets )
- 2007 Lipshitz Saves the World ( TV movie )
- 2008: The Incredible Hulk ( The Incredible Hulk )
- 2008: Four Play ( TV movie )
- 2009: Leaves of Grass
- 2009: Damages - the power ( Damages, TV series, one episode)
- Since 2009: Modern Family ( TV series)
- 2010-2011: Glenn Martin, DDS (TV series, two episodes, voice role as Mart -E)
- 2010-2011: The Super Hero Squad Show ( TV series, three episodes)
- 2010: Fair Game - Nothing is more dangerous than the truth ( Fair Game )
- 2010: Morning Glory
- 2011: All in butter (butter)
- 2011: Doc McStuffins (TV series, one episode, voice as Big Jack )
- 2012: Goats
- 2012: Key and Peele (TV series, one episode)
- 2014: The Adventures of Mr. Peabody & Sherman ( Mr. Peabody & Sherman, voice as Mr. Peabody )
- 2014: The Muppets 2: Most Wanted Muppets ( Muppet Most Wanted )