The Apache Pow Wow

Internet Comedian Bo Burnham

Cindy Tse, Staff Writer

You may have seen him on Netflix with his comedy sets Make Happy and what. Robert “Bo” Burnham’s success at a young age has truly made him a star, one that is unafraid to share with the world what he really thinks. He started off on YouTube in 2006, and was known for making wacky songs, usually accompanying himself with a guitar or piano. This eventually graduated into professional comedy, where he began tackling topics that were much more serious while still keeping his lighthearted tone. And now, he is ready to release his first self-written and self-directed movie, Eighth Grade, set to come to theaters this July following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Burnham’s first viral hit was when he was 16-years-old with song called “My Whole Family…”, totalling almost 10 million views on YouTube. That video and the others that followed were shot in his tiny Massachusetts bedroom. Two years later, he released his first EP, Bo Fo Sho, followed by his album, Bo Burnham. His skills include singing, acting, playing instruments, and even rapping. The topics he touches on are often controversial, the edge made more apparent by Burnham’s sharp words and wit. Despite the biting humor, he is always sure to include a sense of optimism to top off otherwise rather depressing commentary. As he began to perform live, he also recorded a one hour stand-up routine titled Words Words Words, which became the predecessor to the two later Netflix specials. He even tried his hand at poetry with Egghead, a bizarre collection of short poems that have been compared to an adult Shel Silverstein work with its odd style and scribbly drawings. Overall, Burnham is incredibly prolific and is sure to become even more impressive as time goes on.

For Burnham, his last special Make Happy drew attention to “the very strange relationship between a performer and an audience, which [he] just thinks nowadays is a very vague and wide-reaching sort of relationship.” It is also what he describes as “closing a chapter,” as he wants to move beyond stand-up and continue evolving his work for the world. Burnham’s onstage persona is quite different from how he is in real life (or at least that’s what he says) but the character does reflect the creator, and both the Bo on and offstage does his best to provide content that is both entertaining and worth something to his audience.

Graphic courtesy of GWHSNEWS.ORG

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Internet Comedian Bo Burnham