Looking “Inside” of Bo Burnham’s musical comedy

Looking “Inside” of  Bo Burnham’s musical comedy

by Sebastian Gordon

Image provided by IMDB

Robert Pickering “Bo” Burnham is an American comedian, musician, actor, film director, screenwriter, and poet. Recently, Netflix released “Inside,” a 2021 American musical comedy special written, directed, filmed, edited by, and starring Bo Burnham. 

He recorded the special in his home during the COVID-19 pandemic without a crew or audience; it was released on Netflix on May 30, 2021. 

The special has a runtime of one hour and twenty-seven minutes. It has also earned a 97% on rotten tomatoes, which is incredibly good. 

It is rated TV-MA (in some cases, it is more severe than an R rating). This means the program is intended to be viewed by mature, adult audiences and may be unsuitable for children under 17. It contains content that is unsuitable for children, such as strong profanity and extreme topics. 

Each song has a different meaning, and with random cuts, there is not an actual plot. The general idea revolves around a millennial going through an existential crisis while dealing with mental illness. Burnham targets the millennial/zoomer generation with his humor and openness. 

The Netflix special includes twenty songs and runs over fifty-three minutes. Out of the many songs from Burnham’s special, I will only be discussing a couple of songs in particular. 

The first song is called “Content,” in the song, Burnham talks about how difficult it is to feel creative while being stuck in quarantine. It also talks about the lack of motivation to go back to work after going into a depressive episode. 

Next, the song “Comedy” (explicit) starts; in it, he discusses all the awful things going on in the world (specifically in 2020) and how he has nothing to joke about. He then tries to convey  how comedy is a form of escapism and ignorance from serious issues. 

Another song, “How the World Works” (explicit), begins playing; in the song, Burnham is talking with a sock puppet in an almost “Sesame Street” way. It makes fun of people who see the world through rose-colored glasses. 

It specifically talks about issues like teaching children historically incorrect information, genocide, exploitation, and capitalism. Burnham represents a character that practices performative activism for  personal gain. Socko (the sock puppet) is tired of trying to teach others how to make a positive impact on socio-political issues. 

“Look Who’s Inside Again” (explicit) is the ninth song; it centers on isolation and how comedy helps him get out of being “stuck.” The line, “Well, well… look who’s inside again, went out to look for a reason to hide again,” shows the struggle he faces with mental illness every day. 

The song that plays after “Problematic” (explicit) focuses on cancel culture and holding people accountable for their past actions. He addresses the point that it doesn’t make sense or work if we don’t hold each person to the same standard. It also discusses how everyone has their own “dirty laundry,” no matter how “good” they are.

Lastly, “Welcome to the Internet” (explicit) is an upbeat song with a focal point of the damage the Internet does. It talks about how it’s a harmful distraction for mentally ill individuals. It also discusses how it sets unrealistic expectations and shows graphic content without warning.

There are several other songs I didn’t address, such as “FaceTime with my Mom (Tonight),” “White Woman’s Instagram,” “Unpaid Intern,” “Bezos I” (explicit), “Sexting” (explicit), “30” (explicit), “Don’t Wanna Know,” “Shit” (explicit), “All Time Low,” “Bezos II,” “That Funny Feeling,” “All Eyes On Me” (explicit), “Goodbye” (explicit), and “Any Day Now.” They all have deep meanings and relatable messages. 

“Okay, so in short, it’s a masterpiece,” writes Bernadette Hasler. She also gives it a five-star rating. 

Christopher T. says, “It is difficult for me to convey how deeply and perfectly this thing hit me. It is comedy in the same way life itself can feel like a joke. Without warning, it jumps from the mundane to the profound.” 

I thought it was wonderful. Though some of the truth bombs hit hard, it was something most of us needed after this past year. 

From the stunning visuals to the sensational songs, Brunham’s Netflix special was a “masterpiece,” or at least as close to one as you can get.

I highly recommend fellow adults to go check it out. Overall, I give it a 9.5/10. 

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