Now, I know Bo Burnham’s been around for a while as a sort of wunderkind YouTube king, but to be honest, I never delved deep into his material. Like Sleigh Bells’ construction work-backed noise songs and athletic activities involving bungee cords, it was cool, but not for me.
That is, until I stumbled upon his latest special, what.:
I took four years worth of news-editorial journalism classes designed how to write about everything from obituaries to city planning meetings, and I’m still stumped as to how to describe this SLICE OF PERFECTION, even if I’ve already watched two times in the past four days.
If I were writing for a regional paper and had deemed myself an arts/comedy critic, I’d say “Breathtakingly brilliant. Burnham’s latest is a tour de force in experimental comedy. Four stars!”
If I was your mom trying to tell you about something her friend had told her about, I’d say “That Stu Barnherm – is it Stu? Maybe it’s Bo? No, no, it’s Bob — that Bob Barnherm is supposedly getting all the ladies riled up with his new song-and-dance routine.”
And, if I was me, I’d go above and beyond trying to relay just how ingenious this hour special is in a long string of words. So, instead of using my regular pile of adjectives, just pretend you feel my bony hands on your shoulders, shaking you back and forth while whisper-shouting “You need to watch this.” (I’m very weak, so you may not feel it at first. It’s not a ghost! It’s just me!)
As for how much I love this special, I will say this: remember how you felt when you watched that new David Blaine special and were amazed and dumbfounded at the exact same time? This is that, just without near-vomiting a double bag of SkinnyPop from all of the unnecessary arm needles. (Seriously, if needles didn’t horrify me, I wouldn’t get nervous poops before getting blood drawn. Or an HPV shot. Or a tooth pulled. It’s a sad life as a pseudo-adult.)
I’ve really never seen anything like this special, though. It’s an endless complex, hilarious hybrid of theatre, performance art, concert and comedy, which sounds so terrible in theory – doesn’t it? – but it’s fucking brilliant. Give it ten minutes. Give it ten minutes! Or, if you’re impatient and think I have terrible taste, just watch this snippet of one of the songs. ‘Specially if you’re a friend who works in the music biz:
Yeah, consider your next hour spoken for.