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A year of isolation in the making, Bo Burnham: Inside is a reflection of what we've all just been through, filtered through Bo's idiosyncratic comedy genius. He may just be filming it in one room of his house - no crew, no audience - but you'll recognize his stage show magic anyway. He sets up a lot of lighting effects, meta-commentary on his process, and uses a happy-sad approach that makes you question what's authentic and what's calculated, and whether there's a difference. It's like a high-end throwback to his teenage stuff on YouTube, and many of the songs are about the Internet experience, an ironic note on how our self-isolation started long before 2020. A lot of Inside shows - again, whether documentary or staging isn't always clear - Bo break down as the project gets longer and more involved, the testimonials gets darker, and the show reaches a potent crescendo. Make Happy was so good, it was hard to top. In reality, this kind of comedy special was perhaps inevitable, a different enough delivery vehicle that it's allowed to stand on its own and refreshes Bo's usual themes and techniques. On a personal note, as an improv player who's had to figure out how to present shows with no audience and make them work, Inside was incredibly relatable too.
Incredibly personal, intimate, and honest. Existential and depressing yet profoundly grounded in real world shit. I loved it and it's earned its praise.
This will be seen as one of the defining artistic works of the pandemic.
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