177: BO BURNHAM

So, this one’s a little different. It’s a comedian, not a band. I suppose I’ve found a loophole in that this particular comedian’s primarily medium is song. Also, y’know, it’s my fucking blog and if I decide post 178 is going to be about a half eaten tube of Pringles I found on the bus, so be it.

What I want to specifically talk about, in regards to Bo Burnham, is likely what a lot of people are talking about the past few weeks – his latest special, Inside.

As I’m sure you’ve seen written everywhere else, Inside is a “comedy” special from Burnham that was released his Netflix recently. I use the term “comedy” loosely, as it’s certainly not an outright comedic piece. In fact, by the end, it’s something else entirely. But dramatic touches start appearing right from the start.

Inside is entirely created by Burnham – written, performed, shot, edited – all without the help of a crew or anyone else, all within the confines of his guest house. The general concept is that this special, something he decided to create early on in the piece, is crafted over the course of a year because he cannot leave. Now, this is where Inside becomes somewhat of a time capsule of these remarkable times. The current global pandemic is never directly mentioned, yet anyone watching will naturally understand this is likely during a stay-at-home order. Because this truly is a global experience and, in 2021, it doesn’t need to be explained.

Throughout the special, and over the course of a year – with Burnham’s appearance and mental health deteriorating – multiple songs are performed. And this is why I feel it necessary to talk about it here.

The songs vary somewhat in style, to are poppy/synthy tracks that cleverly cover a spectrum of topics, from the silly and humorous, to confronting and sincere. Even as someone who prefers heavier stuff, there’s just no denying how fucking catchy these tracks are. The fact they are such legitimately good songs, before we step back and take on the whole picture – the context, the presentation, and the back story – just adds another layer to how amazing Inside is.

Years from now, Inside will be as confronting of a look of these truly bizarre times as we have. Hopefully by then it’ll all be a distant memory.