Bo Burnham: Inside (2021) Review
Updated: Nov 13, 2021
Well, Well, Look Who’s Inside Again
by Miles Stebens
You’ve heard your friends make jokes about Inside, you’ve heard the TikTok sounds, you’ve seen the memes. If you still haven’t watched it and have been waiting for a sign to do so: this is it. What are you waiting for? Go watch it right now! It’s available on Netflix.
After five years of taking a break from performing, Bo Burnham is back and, boy, does he deliver. Written, directed, filmed, edited by and starring Bo Burnham - and only Bo Burnham - his comedy special, Inside, was rightfully nominated for six Emmy Awards, three of which he took home.
In only 90 minutes, Bo Burnham manages to make you reconsider your entire life. The special was filmed during 2020 in his guest house, and many of the songs reflect this absurd and surreal year, as well as the detrimental consequences these ordeals have had on our mental health (e.g. ‘Shit’, ‘All Time Low’). What makes Inside so raw and intimate is his exploration of the performativity of his act, with providing behind the scenes moments of him setting up his gear or breaking down. As always, he doesn’t shy away from criticising society in various ways in songs such as ‘How the World Works’, ‘Unpaid Intern’, or ‘That Funny Feeling’.
Photo Courtesy of Netflix Media Centre
In only 90 minutes, Bo Burnham manages to make you reconsider your entire life. The special was filmed during 2020 in his guest house, and many of the songs reflect this absurd and surreal year, as well as the detrimental consequences these ordeals have had on our mental health.
Inside, to describe it as succinctly as I can, is a rollercoaster of emotions, at once making you laugh, cry, think - sometimes at the same time. There is no respite as you are hauled from one scene to the next without smooth transitions. Believe me when I say you will be left speechless by the end of it; you’ll want to watch it again immediately while also running as far away from it as possible.
The compromise is to listen to Inside (The Songs), the accompanying album which contains all the songs without the in-between sketch scenes. While the songs are arguably the best thing about the special, I implore you to also actually watch it, if only to be able to appreciate the genius of Bo Burnham having done all of this by himself. While the sketches in between are an invaluable addition to the experience, just seeing the songs performed is incredible (case in point: ‘Problematic’, ‘White Woman’s Instagram’, ‘Welcome to the Internet’. Thank me later).
Be warned: this special will live rent-free in your head and you won’t be able to listen to anything else for weeks after.