Burnham brings out twisted ‘word’ play
Most 18 year olds that are accepted into the Tisch Program at NYU would hang that letter up on the refrigerator. Bo Burnham just put his aside and told the program that he’s going to wait a year and pursue his budding career.
Hailing from a Catholic high school in Massachusetts, theatre kid Burnham never expected to be the youngest comedian to be featured on Comedy Central. At sixteen, Burnham started his career by putting his quirky songs on YouTube for his older brother in college to see and he became a sensation essentially overnight.
His sophomore act has just been released as a CD/DVD entitled “Words, Words, Words.” With the bit of confidence that he’s gained since his days on the Internet, Burnham has been able to locate ethical boundaries and make sure that he completely ignores them.
Burnham keeps things poppy in his single “Words, Words, Words.” Ambition aside, Burnham is an obvious king of wordplay, comparing himself to both Eminem and Hamlet.
His confidence on the stage and in his writing shines through as he pokes fun at not only pop culture, but at his own life.
Alluding to his intelligence in a reference to Atticus Finch and then reminding everyone of his youth with a mention of Hey Arnold’s Helga Pataki, Burnham even goes as far as to make light of the topic for his NYU college essay.
On the subject of self-praise, Burnham jumps into “Oh Bo” to bring attention to the corruption of the hip-hop world. But don’t think Bo is above that. As he says, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Bo goes off, touching upon feminists, racism, art, and Michael Jackson. I think he’s covered every bit of offensive material there is.
With his piece entitled “Rant,” Burnham gives us a possible source for all of his sarcasm and angst. Talking of his Catholic upbringing and of the church’s inability to connect with its members through their methods is one of the most dangerous topics he could have chosen.
But it’s Bo Burnham, so I’ll sit in my car and sing along to it and not think twice about laughing because he’s a comedian – a comedian who knows how to do his job well.
Burnham makes a point of doing what his projected audience is looking for: something to sing along to and try to understand because you don’t catch all the jokes the first time through. Burnham takes any subject, offensive like Nazism or relatable like Disney, and makes sure you see it in the same twisted way as him.
Burnham’s newest set “Words, Words, Words” is definitely worth a watch, a listen, a download, and a laugh.
Allison Siegel can be reached for comment at email@example.com