Release Date: May 30th, 2021
Length: 1H 27M
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Available On Netflix
Inside to me is the most poignant and thought provoking thing I have seen in 2021 so far, and I am not sure if anything is going to top it for me for the rest of the year. This is going to be a very different review given how its a comedy, musical special but I will do my best.
Bo Burnham’s Inside (2021) is a musical comedy special that is written, directed, lighted, shot, produced and performed by Bo Burnham, alone, over the course of a very unusual year.
I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into before I watched this. My brother messaged me saying that it was imperative that I watch it and I was kind of skeptical, but one evening I sat down and watched it and immediately ate my words.
Bo Burnham was a YouTube star who absolutely blew up on the platform and was able to build a career out of it. He did a couple of stand up comedy specials and went on to become a part of Hollywood in writing and directing his own film Eighth Grade (2018) and starring in films such as The Big Sick (2017) and Promising Young Woman (2020).
The special contains incredibly catchy songs from beginning to end, there is absolutely zero songs that Bo has created that garner a skip. I’ve loved the music so much that I have the album loaded on my Tidal for offline play so I can listen to it anywhere and I recently preordered the vinyl that is being released in December. It makes car trips easy when you’re just jamming and singing along the whole trip. All of the songs are great but I keep going back to “Bezos 1 & II,” “Sexting,” “30,” “Shit,” “Welcome To The Internet” “That Funny Feeling” and “All Eyes On Me.” I dare you not to sing along when you know the words.
Bo Burnham to quote my brother “is ungodly talented” and I have to agree wholeheartedly with his assessment. Being able to write, light, shoot, perform and direct this special all on his own is an absolutely crazy feat, especially in a year of so much uncertainty; we also wouldn’t have been blessed with this special had the world not been in the state that it has been in the last year and a half. Its a product of lockdown and Covid that I’m glad we had the opportunity to see and hear.
This is so poignant to the last couple of years with the pandemic. I felt like this special started off lighter hearted and more fun, and as the special continued we were witnesses to Bo’s journey of making this thing, and his mental state as he is trying to make this alone and with the surrounding world being in the state that its in. I felt like a lot of people had this exact reaction to the pandemic, we tried to do stuff for ourselves, or to be creative or to help people and we got frustrated. We felt alone, but we overcame, and got through it. I used the phrase a lot last year “the adaptability of the human spirit” and it still echoes to now. We can only do what we can in 24 hours, in a month, in a year, and especially with the pandemic what we could just do day to day and be safe.
This special is worth watching even just as a documentary on making something and shows filmmakers what they can do when its just them, how they’re able to create stuff that is elaborate, yet simple. Its a journey with Bo, through an entirely tough year of celebrating birthdays by yourself or just with your close family that you live with. Its a musical performance, with the catchiest songs of the year.
I was not a huge Bo Burnham fan before I watched Inside. I tried his stand-up a few times but I didn’t give it the time of day, I am happy to note that he has a new fan, and I’m very intrigued to see what he does next.
Bo Burnham’s Inside gets a 5/5 from me. Its on Netflix so theres no excuse not to watch it. I think it has absolutely earned its 6 Emmy Award Nominations, and I look forward to seeing him take home all 6.