Bo Burnham: Inside is an Emotional Comeback for the Vine Star Turned Writer


Bo Burnham chronicles his emotional journey during quarantine in a brilliant comedy special.

Soley written, directed, shot, and starring Burnham; his talent reaches new heights — all while being alone in one room.

The writer and director’s return to comedy is a big win for him and Netflix.

Stand-up comedy came to a halt in March 2020, and Bo Burnham’s career was no exception. His last comedy special was in 2016, which, coincidentally, was the last time he did a stand-up show.

Now, with Inside, he makes a stunning return to comedy while poking at the raw emotions that lockdown caused.

Telling a familiar tale of loneliness and creative stagnation, Burnham explores raw emotions with a comedic edge through music, behind-the-scenes footage, and truly heart-breaking truths.

Filmed over a year during the pandemic, Inside is a superb achievement in comedy and production.

Burnham gained his fame through the now-defunct Vine, and fans of his quick six-second comedy will be happy with the humor in this special. In 2019, Burnham won the best original screenplay at the Writers Guild of America awards for his 2018 critical hit Eighth Grade.

Eighth Grade has similar themes to Inside, including anxiety, going through tough times, and the ramifications of social media.

These themes are not typical for comedy specials, at least — not addressed in a familiar way. Burnham made sure to include every emotional beat, every issue he had filming the special.

These raw feelings got presented not as a joke or comedy; they presented realistically, which created some somber and rough scenes to watch.

Inside feels very different than the usual comedy special, and I hesitate to call it that and only that. It’s more of a film-comedy special hybrid.

The result of combining those two unique production designs was a big win, and the comedy shines alongside the more profound situations.

Bo Burnham’s comedy is at its peak with his original songs, and there is plenty of music to go around.

From “Facetime with My Mom tonight,” “White Woman’s Instagram,” to “Welcome to The Internet,” Burnham’s comedy lends well to the musical spectrum. 

The weird musical comedy lends well to his self-deprecating, semi-pessimistic wit. The songs are catchy, and not in a plaguey way, in a good way.

His voice is admittedly pretty good, and it lends well to the comedy. Burnham’s musicality is undeniable. He plays a few instruments and knows how to write his music with finesse.

I knew that he could write music, but his musicality and skill shine throughout the presentation. Thankfully, he released the music as an album on June 10th, so now the songs can be enjoyed outside of the Netflix special.

Apart from his obvious musical talent, his comedy is showcased wonderfully (including through the lyrics).

His crude humor is earned and isn’t there for shock value. The topics he discusses usually have mature themes, so the “inappropriate” humor plays out as funny and not gratuitous.

The parts that made me feel the hardest, though, were Burnham’s confessional-like rantings.

These scenes were just Bo, talking in front of the camera as if it were a reality tv confessional — and boy, they hit deep.

In these little interviews, he talks about the struggles he’s having with being stuck creatively, not wanting things to end and the clarity he has gained and lost during the process of filming.

The most heart-wrenching of these interview-like moments happens to be the equivalent of the climax of a movie.

Bo Burnham shows us just how the filming and how covid has affected his mental health.

It may be hard to watch, but Burnham having a mental breakdown puts onto the screen what many people have been feeling throughout the pandemic.

His emotion comes off as raw and authentic, even if they were acted and scripted. I could see the truth on his face — even if it wasn’t a purely candid moment, it was real emotion.

His range of talent culminates at the end, where he has a reprise of not one but almost all (if not all) of the songs in the movie’s entirety is involved, which again showcases his musical ability.

The production value sets this special apart from the standard Netflix Comedy specials.

Bo Burnham did everything himself: from the writing to the editing. The quality of the special did not suffer because of the one-person production crew.

With a certain finesse, Burnham proves that he is not just a talented comedian but a talented filmmaker.

Creative lighting, cinematography, and smart editing combined with a healthy dose of behind-the-scenes footage make for a delightful ninety minutes.

The production side delivers a highly vulnerable and honest tone, and it feels very intimate: like I was peering into a part of someone’s life that I almost shouldn’t.

The whole production was so spellbinding; I watched it a second time two days later.

Everything (including the bare-bones production) complemented his writing wonderfully.

The special’s impact is already astronomical too, people have been raving over it, and the internet has gone crazy over his performance.

Many people may be discovering Bo Burnham for the first time and will enjoy the quirkiness of the comedian. Long-time fans will enjoy Burnham’s return to comedy.

Burnham should consider this an incredible achievement that I am not going to forget for a very long time.

If you’ve already seen it, what did you think? Did you enjoy this unique comedy special?

If you haven’t watched it, you can watch Bo Burnham: Inside on Netflix now, and when you do, return here to tell us what you think!

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