Review: Bo Burnham: what.

  "Experimentation: Complete."

"Experimentation: Complete."

From the opening musical number to the way he introduces us to his true self, Bo Burnham is showing the comedy world that he means business. Not serious business, mind you, but business.

You may know Bo from his YouTube following or his recently canceled MTV show, Zack Stone Is Going To Be Famous (R.I.P), but you don’t exactly know Bo. He’s a deep, introverted, well-meaning guy with an interesting view of the world. Or he’s just that gay kid who tells poop jokes. It’s really your decision.

The start of the special is unlike most. Burnham mimes – yes mimes – his way through a prerecorded song that introduces us to his eccentricness (eccentricnicity?). A virtual light show plays in the background as he dances his way around the stage. There’s even an uncomfortable amount of eye contact between him and a female member of the audience. From here, Burnham introduces himself to us, not really caring if we laugh at his jokes are not.

On a side note, have you ever tried seguing in a conversation? It’s really difficult. Even Bo can’t do it.

Burnham’s performance is top notch. Looking at the craft of the special, it is obvious that he spent a good bit of time on the, well, timing of everything. A large chunk of his audio bits are prerecorded. He does a fantastic job on delivery. It looks like he had a lot of fun developing everything down to what he’ll do next.  

Some of the best jokes are those that are completely out of thin air. One such instance includes an experiment performed by a robot voice not unlike GLaDOS that leads to a fight between the left brain and right brain. Burnham has the tendency to push the envelope in more ways than one. There’s no doubt that someone is going to be offended by most of what he says. Seriously, if you can barely take my jokes, there’s no chance that you can stand him.

A foul-mouthed song from God is a true standout among the songs. Several sexually ambiguous jokes are made at his own expense. And audience participation leads to a faux Hitler salute. The end joke is the crown jewel. Burnham gives us a taste of what it is to be him; to experience what kind of people entered his life after he’s reached fame, even if they have “been there” the entire time. Burnham’s performance for the hour is outstanding. He never loses his cool and every joke is executed very well.


Bo Burnham is a young star that has a lot going for him. He doesn’t pander to his audience by dumbing down his jokes. Each comedy bit is tailored to have another deep, underlying joke within a joke. He’s the Christopher Nolan of weird, awkward stand up. Most comedians only talk about relationships or use props to get by on stage. But Bo won’t do that. He sets out to create intelligent content for those seeking something more. His jokes may poke fun at the MTV generation but their built for anyone to listen. This shy, soft-spoken comedian is ready for the things that the world is throwing at him. Burnham is a born leader in comedy.

If you don’t know Bo by the end of what, then he’s done his job right. You can’t exactly know him but ou can get a sense of what he is feeling.


Bo Burnham: what. is available on Netflix Instant. It’s also free on YouTube, you cheap sack of crap.

Grade: A-, 13 Babies out of 7 Pigs