On Sept. 10, Bill Burr’s sixth hour-long stand-up special, “Bill Burr: Paper Tiger,” debuted on Netflix, sporting the streaming service labels “provocative” and “politically incorrect.”
Following in the footsteps of Dave Chappelle’s latest special “Sticks and Stones,” Burr looks through a lens of unbridled frustration to critique today’s society, brilliantly satirizing the illogical intricacies of controversial topics such as postmodern feminism and the #MeToo movement.
Filmed over two sold out nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the live audience reactions seemed mixed in the first half hour, unsure if they were allowed to laugh at Burr’s controversial statements. Burr recognizes his material is controversial, but he also recognizes it succeeds in its criticism. He knows what statement he’s making.
“By the way, this is gonna be my last show ever by the time this f***ing thing comes out,” Burr interjects in the middle of a joke.
However controversial it might be, the material is hilarious. Burr’s trademark style is consistent throughout the special. He is the epitome of the phrase “fiery redhead,” even though he is now bald. His aggressive tone shines throughout his comedy; it complements his material like peanut butter to jelly.
Aside from the controversy that takes up the first half of the hour, Burr jokes cleverly about robots, Stephen Hawking and pregnancy. He focuses largely on his own issues with anger and burying emotions. These stories give a glimpse into Burr’s personal life that allow his audience to empathize and connect with him while also enjoy his comedy.
Burr takes his physical comedy further in this special than in any other he’s ever done, emulating his jokes on stage with a highest form of mockery. This gives Burr an energy that — along with his volume — keeps our eyes and ears glued to him at all times.
Burr’s comedy is aging like fine wine, to me anyway. If you get offended easily or are not in the mood to discuss controversy, I would shy away from this special. As for an audience with a thicker skin who would love to enjoy some risqué comedy, I would highly recommend “Bill Burr: Paper Tiger” on Netflix.