In comedian Bill Burr‘s Netflix stand-up Paper Tiger, his sixth one-hour special, he spends nearly twenty minutes joking about the #MeToo movement, the evolving culture surrounding women’s rights and male feminists. And much like Dave Chappelle‘s recent Sticks and Stones special, Burr titled his show at London’s Albert Royce Hall Paper Tiger, the literal English translation of the Chinese phrase “zhilaohu,” as a reminder that in a world where society seems to be professionally offended at everything, his jokes are just words.
“I probably shouldn’t say this”, Burr, 51, told the Interrobang, “certain comics like to think that they’re dangerous, so then they just fan the flames. Like, ‘Hey, man, I don’t give a fuck with this fucking political correctness. I’m going to talk about whatever.’ It’s like, ‘You’re not dangerous, okay? You’re not. You’re telling knock-knock jokes. Get over yourself.'”
Burr is also keenly aware his words will still trigger a lot people. “By the way, this is going to be my last show ever,” he says early-on in Paper Tiger. “By the time this fu**ing thing comes out.”
Burr, who’s been married to wife Nia Renee Hill since 2013, was 48 years old when he became a first-time dad. Their daughter, Lola, was born on January 20, 2017, and while Burr keeps her face hidden from the public, he openly jokes about being a late-in-life father on his podcast. “I’ve gotta be there for at 30 years to make sure she doesn’t marry a jerk. But then I can just kick off and that will be it!”
In Paper Tiger Burr doesn’t shy away from making jokes personal, and referencing his own marriage. “If I’ve learned anything in five years of being married it’s that we’re always working on me,” and then mentioning what life would be life if he did fix his issues, “Like what could my wife complain about. I fu**ing crush everything… . I pick up after myself, I like to think I’m a good dad, I make a good living. All she has on me is who I am as a person.”
Burr openly admits that who he is on stage, that “angry man” is merely a character, and believes outrage culture is giving too much credence to comics. He said, “No comic has ever told a fu**ing joke that changed the society. If a comedian had that level of power, you wouldn’t be allowed to do it, or it would be totally monitored and censored… I’m just reminding people I don’t read, I’m just an idiot, and you’ll live. You’ll live past your three days of outrage.”
Burr Changed His Closing Joke Because of Lola
Burr told The Wrap that he last-minute changed up his material for the Paper Tiger special due to thinking about how his jokes would affect his daughter one day.
“I’ve never really thought about it, but I just know a closer when I hear it coming out of my mouth,” he said. “I’m like, ‘This is something I can close with,’” Burr said. “I’ll be honest with you: I had a different closer for this hour almost right until the night we taped. I called an audible because the joke was about my daughter being born and me feeling some crazy feelings, and I just thought it would hurt her feelings if she ever saw it. It was more my issue, but I was just worried she wouldn’t process it that way. And I would never want to hurt her, so I was just like, ‘I don’t need to do that.'”
Burr Discusses His Own Sexual Abuse in ‘Paper Tiger’
The F is for Family creator tells the audience of the time a female comedian allegedly sexually assaulted him a few years ago, and after processing what happened, Burr found there was nothing he could do to retaliate. Breaking his “angry man” character, showing the he can see things from the victims point of view he states, “It’s the fact that she thought she could bully me.”