"Inside:" Bo Burnham's Most Personal Special Yet
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
After nearly five years of total dormancy, musical comedy legend, Bo Burnham has returned with his new Netflix special: Inside. The special was directed, performed, written, edited, and shot by Burnham himself and takes place entirely in one room in his California home during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The special offers a unique insight into Burnham's life and the effects of his comedy career on his mental health and self image. It's an incredibly personal film that has offered thousands of people immense comfort after the terrible year that was 2020.
After the rapturous applause that met Bo Burnham's previous specials, what. and Make Happy, naturally expectations were through the roof for Inside, and it's easy to see why. Throughout his nearly fifteen year career, Burnham has delivered some of the most beloved, provocative, sincere, and self-aware comedy the world has seen, much to the delight of his wide audience. This has led to the culmination of millions of fans and nearly 800,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. What has separated Burnham's comedy from his peers throughout his career has been his focus on self-deprecation and criticism of the entertainment industry, including artists like himself. In this respect, Inside is no different. This unique brand of "blue comedy" has been present throughout all of Burnham's standup routines and his two previous specials what. and Make Happy. It seems like as his career has progressed, so has this critical breed of comedy. Initially this peaked during the 2016 special, Make Happy however it's fair to say at this point that Inside has usurped that title as Burnham's most self-aware and intimate yet.
As expected, Inside offers a plethora of new comedic songs from Burnham such as: "White Woman's Instagram," "Welcome To The Internet," and "Hold Me Accountable," all of which I personally loved. After years of listening to the same songs over and over again, it felt so good to finally get some new musical material from such a talented comedian. The songs varied from the relatable to downright insane, something to be expected from Burnham. Inside also provides the audience with a deep insight into Bo Burnham's personal life and his struggle with his own mental health.
Of course, I wasn't the only one to enjoy Bo Burnham's new special this week. For this review I decided to call in a friend and also fellow musical comedian, Joseph Burris of the comedy group, The Lunch Ladiez as well as the creator of "A Podcast That Joseh Burris Has." Like me, Joey has been a lifelong fan of Bo Burnham, so I reached out to get his thoughts on Inside. When asked about his favorite part of Inside, he replied "how Bo establishes early on that he only did this because the pandemic has put him in a depression; I know it’s a weird thing to put as my favorite thing, but I oddly relate to him, and to hear that Bo is doing whatever he can to distract himself during this time made me not feel as alone." Joey pointed out that Inside "feels more genuine" and that he loved being able to see Bo while seemingly a lot less in character than he has been in his stage shows.
Before our interview concludes I asked Joey: "Do you think by watching and consuming his material, we are actively contributing to the industry that has destroyed Bo’s mental health and self image?" To which he reluctantly replied, "Yes, and I’m not entirely sure how to feel about it. I love watching Bo, and I’m sure he also consumes the material and actively destroys his mental health, but that doesn’t make it right, right? It’s a moral conundrum. These type of things are why I love Bo Burnham tho, he makes us think about things like this."
I'd love to give a major shoutout to Joey who was nice enough to provide his insight on the topic as an amateur musical comedian and performer. If you'd like to support Joey his Youtube channel is www.Youtube.com/JosephBurris.
Bo Burnham's Inside is not only a fantastic comedy special but also a profound personal statement about the artist himself. Not only does it offer insight into Burnham's life but also provides solace to so many people like him who also suffer with depression, myself included. Ever since he was discovered, Bo Burnham has been viewed the golden child of the comedy world, a kid that was so immensely talented, he was performing for Comedy Central at age 18. By the age of 25 he'd already had 3 recorded comedy specials under his belt, and with the incredible, consistent quality of his material, Bo Burnham seemed virtually untouchable to the average person. He wasn't just some normal dude he was essentially a comedy god, but Inside brought him down to earth in the eyes of his audience. Watching someone so revered experience problems with mental health like the average person is so supremely comforting. And after the whirlwind that was 2020 and half of 2021, if there's one thing people need, its comfort.
Yes, it's clever, irreverent, creative, and thoughtfully put together comedy special, but it's so much more than that. Bo Burnham's Inside is a reminder that even the most talented and untouchable entertainers are human, and that everyone has the potential to make something amazing with nothing more than a camera and an empty room.