Bo Burnham is one of those people who I just wish I could be. Scratch that. I cannot imagine having a mind as introspective and complicated as his. Whether he is the most important mind in comedy or not is just an opinion, what is true is that he is bringing smart, relevant, self-aware thoughts and expressions to a generation of self-absorded people; and, he is doing it while being funny.
I recently got to see Burnham live for the second time during the second leg of his "Make Happy" tour and I was anything but disappointed. The show opens with a recorded voice of a woman reminding the audience that they will one day die along with all of their loved ones. This does not necessarily sound like comedy, but somehow, Burnham turns all of these messy thoughts and existential crises everyone faces into humor. Most comedians pride themselves on being able to relieve people of their problems and make them laugh for an hour, Bo shoves the problems right back into the audiences' face and makes a joke. He is not just helping the audience mask the problem, he is helping them conquer it.
One of the most incredible things? Burnham is only 25. Starting in his bedroom as a very young teenager, Bo took to posting original comedy songs on Youtube. From there, his career flourished, making him the youngest comedian to ever have a Comedy Central special (five days after his 18th birthday).
It is not by sheer luck that he was able to achieve such a magnitude of success; his comedy stylings are very different from the norm. He prides himself on breaking the traditional structure of what a comedian is and flips the stereotype on its head. This is not an easy task. It is evident that he puts everything he possibly can into making his live shows and comedy specials what they are. He opens himself up for the public to see; discussing deep and dark personal frustrations in a sometimes light, sometimes heavy manner. But, after revealing a touchy emotion, he'll throw in an extremely intelligent and cleverly-timed fart joke. The audience never knows what to expect, and he makes sure of that.
While all of these things are important, the thing that makes Bo Burnham so important is the thoughts he is presenting amidst his comedy. These topics range from 'Everyone Deserves Love But They Also Have To Lower Their Expectations If They Actually Want It,' to, 'We Need To Make Heaven For Ourselves Because God Won't Wait For Us.' Even though every generation is self-absorbed, it is especially nice to have a young person tell other young people to stop thinking so highly of themselves. It is one of the most important lessons to learn and Bo Burnham knows exactly how to teach it. If everyone were like him, our world would be much too introspective, but it is a pleasure to be alive in a time along with him.
Check out some of Bo's songs below!