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Bo Burnham: what. (2013)

TV Movie  -  Comedy  -  18 December 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 755 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

A musical stand-up comedy show by Bo Burnham, the famous internet musician.


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A musical stand-up comedy show by Bo Burnham, the famous internet musician.

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User Reviews

Nothing short of a masterpiece.
20 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Oh, Bo. If you are here reading this review then I assume you know enough about Bo Burnham that I don't have to give an in-depth background story on the man. But, I'll provide a brief one. Bo Burnham is a very young and very funny comedian who burst onto the scene after posting YouTube videos of him singing quirky and silly (if not, very clever) songs while playing simple piano melodies. Comedy Central got a hold of him and then he became the youngest comedian to have his own Comedy Central special, four days after his 18th birthday. In 2009, he released his first REAL hour of comedy: Words, Words, Words. "Words" was a very clever hour, packed with poetry, stand up, and songs discussing humor, irony, and religion. "Words" was fantastic, in other words, and now three years later, Bo is releasing his newest hour, called "what." So does "what." live up to the expectations?

In a few words: Yes, and then some. "What." is so different from "Words" like "Words" was different from Bo's first special, which was just a live collection of his YouTube songs. And Bo stays connected with his internet roots, and posted the whole taped hour for FREE on his YouTube channel. So if you are on the fence about it, you should at least try it. Bo paid for it out of pocket and it's free on YouTube. Whether you like him or not, you have to give him credit, but anyways. "What." is a much more energetic performance from Bo, and it is also goofier, but as well as that, it is very analytical and meaningful if you pay close attention. Those who loved "Art is Dead" will have a field day with some of the bits and songs in this special. That's what is so great about Bo. Meaning delivered through comedy is a very hard thing to accomplish, and doing it well is even harder, but Bo pulls it off with flying colors.

So what is "what."? It's a very theatrical special. Calling it stand up feels like an injustice to what it is. It seems more like a one-man play. The opening of the show is WAY more energetic then his opening for "Words", and it gets you hooked right in. Bo then delivers an hour filled with hilarious one-liners, miming, poetry, and his beloved songs. Some of these songs, though goofy on the surface, offer some of the best social commentary and self commentary, if that exists, that I've seen from a comedian. "Left Brain, Right Brain" is a song that is basically a melodic battle between Bo's analytical and smart side and his carefree and emotional side. I felt that I was relating to it a lot more than I should, but then I listened to it again and realized I should be relating to it as much as I did. Another song, "Repeat Stuff", offers us a glance and a satire of modern pop/love songs, getting pretty dark along the way, but the meaning and truth is there. It seems exaggerated, but really, it is pretty close to the truth. Let me tell you, the ending. The closer for this hour is one of the best bits I've ever seen a comedian perform. I find myself getting very emotional when I watch it and when I hear it. It is pure genius, I love it.

So, if you are a fan of Bo, you HAVE to watch this special. If you don't know who Bo is, you should watch it. For God's sake (OH! Forgot to mention the song "From God's Perspective", also one of the best songs he's ever done.) he put the whole special up on YouTube, so you might as well try it. I loved it, and I also got to see it live before this special. It is so wonderful.

A very strong 9/10.

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Probably one of the best stand up specials I have ever seen. macgruder
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