Bo Burnham’s Netflix Special ‘Inside’ Wows Fans: ‘It May Be Genius’

But some of the comedian’s fans say the one-man show is a little too relatable (because of what we all just went through with the pandemic)

bo burnham
Photo: Getty Images

Comedian Robert “Bo” Burnham’s fourth standup special “Inside” began streaming on Netflix May 30 and plenty of viewers have nothing but praise for the show.

In true coronavirus pandemic fashion, Burnham’s special was filmed and performed entirely in one room. NPR called it “isolation theater.” It’s basically an exploration of what happens inside the mind of a comic who’s forced to do standup for really no one but himself for a whole year — and the mental toll that the coronavirus has taken on all of us.

Actor Jim Beaver said he was surprised by the special: “I just watched Bo Burnham: Inside on Netflix. Brilliant, frightening, beautiful, disturbing stuff. I was expecting a pretty good comedy special. I wasn’t expecting this. This is something entirely different, something entirely new. It’s dark. GREAT songs. It may be genius.”

For someone who’s been around pretty much from the inception of YouTube — Burnham started making videos in 2006, the year after the platform launched — Burnham has remained a relative constant in internet culture and musical comedy, producing both specials and EPs.

At age 18 he got a record deal with Comedy Central and recorded his first special, the youngest comic to do so. He recently took a roughly five-year break from comedy to pursue acting gigs (including roles in “The Big Sick” and “Promising Young Woman”) and maintain his mental health, he said, but at age 30 is now back on the comedy scene.

Burnham called his style in an interview with Wired “pubescent musical comedy” but that perspective has shifted over time to a more self-reflective tone in “Inside.” With “Inside,” Burnham reflects on his journey through comedy that began when he was just 17 — with an unflinching honesty that fans were quick praise him for.

All of us spent perhaps more time alone with ourselves than ever before during the last year, but some viewers noted that Burnham’s introspection was a little too relatable.

People who watched the special were quick to note on social media they felt they saw themselves in a lot of Burnham’s narrative. 

The Daily Beast called Burnham’s new special “cathartic, but it’s also so triggering and painful you want to crawl out of your skin while watching.” To be clear, this was a positive review that also called “Inside” a “spectacular” work.

“This is my Bo Burnham #Inside appreciation post. Humbling. Beautiful. Masterfully made,” voice actor Sam Riegel said.

Take a look at some more reactions to Burnham’s new special below. “Inside” is now streaming on Netflix.


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