If choosing a stand-up comedy special was like deciding which draft beer you wanted to order at the bar, Bill Burr wouldn’t necessarily be your favorite IPA or pilsner. In Paper Tiger — Bill Burr’s new Netflix special — his brand of comedy is more like one of those heavy stouts that you’re not sure you want to drink at first. But, once you do, you have to admit, it’s a nice — and rowdy — change. Bill Burr is a deeply liberal guy who sounds a little like a conservative, a warm beer that is also very heavy. And about halfway through the special Burr touches on something a lot of husbands will find relatable: anger.
After admitting that Burr feels like he has to return to therapy to work on his anger issues, he points out that if he didn’t get so angry his wife could like him a little bit more. After all, he claims to be “crushing it” at things like taking out the trash, fixing the gate on the house and making a living. So what’s the problem? And then he delivers one of the funniest lines about being an angry man ever: “All she has on me is who I am as a person.”
This joke is fantastic. It comes across as angry, but really, it’s a joke about being angry and not being satisfied with it. Burr follows it up with this excellent zinger: “If I could just not be who I was when she met me, I think I’d have a shot.”
Being a good father, for many of us, also means being a good husband, and often times, if you’re a breadwinner, that can seem at odds. Not to mention, many of us, like Burr, have rowdier pasts and personas that somehow didn’t entirely fade once we got the new responsibilities of fatherhood. Like the Hulk, if we were angry young men, we stayed angry. Obviously, anger management is a serious issue, but Burr shines a light, briefly, on the identity crisis men face, relative to their anger is real. And, when you take a step back, really funny.
“If I’ve learned anything in five years of being married, it’s that we’re always working on me.” He might be joking about being selfish, but you know, Burr is also talking about working on his shit. And that has to count for something, even if it is a joke.
You can watch Bill Burr’s Paper Tiger right here.