Netflix once again surprises audiences with the release of Bill Burr’s latest comedy special Paper Tiger, which became available on September 10 to near media silence. Of course Burr’s comedy is not for everyone, but personally I’ve been a fan of his standup since his 2008 special Why Do I Do This? and I’ve watched his other specials with glee. But in this era of “cancel culture,” his long-standing opposition to entitlement has a new ring that should be appreciated by an audience that is tired of being told how to feel.
Burr is no stranger to controversy, most of his specials deal with subject matters that deal with his self-professed anger issues that can be further explored in his animated show F is for Family (also available on Netflix.) Following Dave Chapelle’s Sticks & Stones, some have pointed out that this is perhaps the first volley against the SJW narrative that has destroyed countless properties across fandom.
Burr opens his latest special (filmed in the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London) addressing the current cancel culture being experienced by former co-worker Bryan Cranston. Cranston received criticism for his role in the film The Upside where he plays the role of quadriplegic Phillip Lacasse. The criticism should be no surprise to anyone who has followed modern entertainment’s business practices; it called into question this widely successful actor’s ability to portray a man with that medical condition. Burr answers that criticism as only he can: “It’s because it’s called acting, you dumb f—.”
Successful comedians have never been shy about morbid subject matters, and Burr solidifies this by addressing the passing of theoretical physicist and Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Stephen Hawkins. “Even your boy,” Burr began, “the guy who recently died. He was always sitting down…” When the crowd reacted somewhat negatively to his joke, Burr added: “How much longer do you want him to suffer? You don’t believe in an afterlife? Maybe he’s up there now and his f—ing legs work…”
But what has gathered him the most controversy in this latest special are his views on feminism in modern era. Burr has long been critical of the role of women in modern society and their need for undue recognition. Burr joked in one of his earlier specials: “Being a mother is the most difficult job on the planet? Oh yeah, all those mothers died every year from black lungs, inhaling coal dust. Women are constantly patting themselves on the back about how difficult their lives are.”
Burr continues to criticize these behaviors in his latest special by addressing the sudden influx of “male feminists” in pop culture. “This s—came out and you’re f—ing scared. You did something… What the f—did you do? That you have to overcorrect that f—ing hard?” There are ample examples that show just how this joke has become a prophetic statement for many high profile culturalists.
However, Burr just as quickly highlights the hypocrisy of modern age feminists when discussing the probability of a future female President, and a potential first gentleman. “The first time that dude opens his mouth about some political s--, you watch all these feminists: ‘You shut the f—up! It is her time now. She was elected, not you.” This too has been proven as a fact in this modern culture, where certain personalities that reached the peaks of popularity allow that “power” to corrupt them.
It’s a risky gamble by Netflix to continue to provide consumers with this type of entertainment in today’s cancel culture, which is why its important to show support. Being a “comedian’s comedian,” Burr’s style of delivery and story telling can be jarring; but all forms of art should elicit an emotional or if its great art a physical one. A hilarious counter to the cancel culture, Burr’s unique way of analyzing society will give you something to think about whether you agree with him or not. There is no middle ground.
Check out Bill Burr’s Paper Tiger now available on Netflix and check out his animated show F is for Family also available on the same platform.