It feels a rare thing to find a musical comedian who combines both integral elements with equal skill; in this case I’ve come across someone with a vocal range that matches their talented piano hands, teamed with a cheeky, ironic sense of humour. Bo Burnham is, unsurprisingly, a very popular US comedian. At the time of writing, Burnham has 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube and his stand up hour Make Happy was released on Netflix in 2016. So why haven’t I watched it until now? There’s no excuse.
Make Happy was recorded at the Capitol Theatre in New York and is a show that explores the harshness and downright unfunny-ness of this world in a loud, theatrical but non-egotistical fashion. Bo is an artistically progressive performer and it’s clear that he has a deep understanding of comedy and its place in today’s world. He’s self critical, and this means that he is constantly challenging himself (‘Original does not mean good. Anyone can do anything.’).
Bo is 27; he has a young face but his audiences seem to easily to get on board and relate to him. This unquestioning trust might very well be down to how confidently he shows he understands his audience in relation to himself. He’s appealing to punters because he doesn’t seem to take himself, or his comedy, particularly seriously. He’s the butt of the jokes but he’s the king of the show.
It’s no wonder Bo Burnham has such a big turnout for his live shows; the whole thing is a theatrical performance. This is high energy, enthusiastic and all-encompassing entertainment, and I thoroughly recommend it if you need a pick-me-up.