Bo Burnham’s New Special Might Make You More Compassionate
3 lessons I learned while crying during another Bo Burnham special.
When I turned on Bo Burnham’s new special, Inside, I really wasn’t expecting to cry during a song about a “White Woman’s Instagram”, nor was I expecting to be singing about Jeffrey Bezos for a week after watching it.
But alas, here we are. Honestly, I think this special is a masterpiece, and just like Bo’s previous comedy special, Make Happy, it made me cry, laugh, and think all at the same time.
The special has plenty of funny moments and quirky lines, but it’s not your traditional comedy special. It’s more of an odyssey of performance art. It’s an hour and a half of cultural observations on a raw, unapologetic, and honest level. There’s no BS, just a man inside his house with his instruments, his camera, and his demons.
But what I see most from Bo’s work is a sense of self-awareness, humility, and the passion to persist despite his pain. It’s humbling, inspiring, and powerful as fuck. It makes me realize that there’s so much I know I don’t know about life.
These are 3 realizations that I had while watching Inside:
He’s Defying The Tortured Artist Trope
If the tortured artist/entertainer trope were a hat, there’d be few people who wear it better than Bo Burnham. But this “trope” isn’t a hat — it’s the reality for many creative people and artists, like Bo.
Burnham has always been open with his audience about his struggle with mental illness. In Inside, he talks about how he took 5 years off to improve himself mentally after he began having severe panic attacks on stage. Burnham’s multifaceted talent is undeniable, but it’s difficult to relate to. What makes his work so impressive to me is not just that he's talented, but that he's able to relate to his audience on a personal level by using emotions that we’ve all felt, especially in the past year.
In Inside, Burnham accurately depicts the feelings that many of us experienced during the isolation of the early days of the pandemic, but he does so in a way that sugarcoats nothing. By the end of the special, the room (the setting of the whole…