Spoilers are a lie, nothing is real.
Okey, calling this a movie might be a stretch. I mean, it is a motion picture but it’s considered more of a comedy special. That being said, I’m not going to start reviewing stand-up comedy. This one is simply one of those Bo Burnham creations with a chock full of talent that keeps you guessing whether he means it or it’s for a laugh. I must warn an unsuspecting audience that most of it is triggering because if there’s one thing he’s not is casual. This won’t be for everyone.
Bo Burnham: Inside (2021) was written and directed by your mom. No, of course not, but if you already have an issue, then this is not your type of content. This is of course a fully written and directed comedy special by Bo Burnham which goes as minimalistic as possible. Bo, the same as most of us, spent 2020 in some state of lockdown. In his usual style, he comes up with pop songs with a message. Whether the message is what he’s saying or the fact that he’s actually too entitled and/or privileged to be saying it, or he’s just making you laugh can be debated endlessly.
I don’t want to give you the impression that Bo is confrontational. He’s not, he is actually personal. Very, very closely personal. You can call Bo’s specials funny or woke or believe he’s actually doing a piss poor job at one or both. What you can’t do is think his material is fabricated or acted. He’s being deeply hurtfully personal and at the same time, he’s keeping you guessing. Comedy is always a mixed bag. Some I find disturbing, some is funny as hell, other one is just social commentary in disguise and some I can’t be bothered to watch. I also hate to put him in the experimental category, because nothing he does is boring. It’s all entertaining as hell. But I do see how some audiences that have only consumed traditional comedy content might feel frustrated.
It’s not that the humour requires a lot of thinking to get. Bo is actually doing all the thinking and putting it in front of you in a silver platter. The challenge for the audience is that everything he does is so particularly intimate and relatable that for people that have never seen his comedy style it will feel like they’re standing too close and getting even closer. If you can play this show in the background, you might as well skip it completely. Even with my full attention, I kept doubting my ears and rewinding it. It was either one of those moments of did he really just say that? or That bit was so funny I want to hear it again.
Highly recommended if you’re a fan of comedy and meta-commentary where social issues are involved. Bo walks this line between being funny and socially aware which is completely blurred. What he is always is human and talented. It’s never about indulging and always about self-criticizing. You can feel he is very close to his material to the point of making you uncomfortable since some of those feelings are immensely relatable. You’ll either find him entertaining or he will simply not be your cup of tea. Very much worth several watches if you do.
That will do for now.