Bo Burnham: Inside

Bo Burnham: Inside ★★★★★

I love it. To me it’s his magnum opus, part George Carlin part Charlie Kaufman, combining the frenetic spiteful cynicism of “Make Happy” with the emotional inventory of the internet age that made “Eighth Grade” so special.

It’s the natural culmination to his early song “Art is Dead” where after 5 years away from performing, he thinks he can take another bite at the apple only to pay a heavy heavy price. He recognizes that art and comedy can only do so much in such a broken world that will meet its inevitable demise, where at best it acts as a distraction and salve for a world that doesn’t deserve sugarcoating. As a celebrity, a performer, and a creative, he learns that there are two didactic choices: Inside, where he is stuck in a vicious feedback loop of anxiety, despair, and introspection, or Outside, where his dynamic humanity is flattened into content for the digital world, rendered useless by the fact that the world is burning. By removing the literal audience, he is faced with the realization that his anxiety stems from something more sinister, and that after this special he has a choice to embrace the cycle with a wry smile or to demonstratively step out of it forever. Selfishly I want more specials, but I hope ultimately he makes the choice that brings him the most peace.

Plus it’s a technical achievement as well. The songwriting, the actual singing (holy shit, the vocals and lyricism on the Funny Feeling song could have come from a Father John Misty album), and the cinematography is such a unparalleled achievement that puts others in the medium to shame. It’s Bo yo!

Andrew Ambrose Lee liked these reviews