It’s hard to talk about a comedy special. Mostly because of how subjective comedy is. Most of the time, a review of a comedy special boils down to: was it funny? Yes or no. Not exactly something you can really write a compelling article about.
But the thing about comedy: it kind of just… stopped last year. Hard to gather a crowd to watch a comedian when being in a crowd is gonna get everyone there, comedian likely included, a deadly virus. We had a few here and there, but those felt more like comedians just trying to do their normal thing like nothing was wrong, despite the lack of an audience.
Then there’s Bo Burnham, who decided to make something incredible.
Inside is a work of pure genius. It perfectly captures all of the feelings of anxiety and panic that most people had to experience throughout 2020. He bashes internet culture, from Instagram to live-streaming, corrupt corporations, everything that made you upset or anxious throughout the last year. And all the while, the special still manages to be funny.
And before you say “Maybe he shouldn’t be making jokes about that,” guess what? That’s the point. Because let’s be honest: if we couldn’t laugh at the shit-show that has been our lives for the past year or so, I think we’d all go collectively insane. If we haven’t already.
The visuals are the stand-out feature. Most comedy specials boil down to ‘watch a comedian on stage making jokes’. Here, Burnham decided to take a more creative approach to how the special looks. It makes great use of creative lighting, colors, projected backgrounds camerawork, and snappy editing to create something truly incredible.
Which is especially impressive, considering the whole thing takes place in one room.
Now, in case you’ve never watched anything from Bo Burnham before, be aware: music is a huge part of his comedy style. And Inside is no exception. This time, he’s bringing some of his darkest, yet funniest and catchiest, songs of his career. Which is impressive, considering that he once wrote a song called Kill Yourself; guess what it was about.
Inside is something truly special. Sure, it’s not laugh-so-hard-your-sides-hurt funny. But it isn’t really meant to be. It’s a hard look at the times we live in that uses comedy to talk about it. It’s something that won’t have the same impact ten or twenty years from now that it does today. It’s something remarkable and well worth a watch.