Arthur Harkness Presents: Bo Burnham’s What
Guys……I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time. Welcome ladies and gents to a very special and very handsome post by yours truly. Stand up comedy has been something of wild beast to me in my years. When I was a kid, I strayed in and out of stand up mainly because I was a kid and didn’t know any better, but it blossomed into a full on romance as I got older. I won’t even name names to be honest, because that would be taking away from the focus of this article, but we’ll say that I have a pretty broad base of stand up preferences. A few years ago, 4 I believe, I was up late on a Friday, and they were playing the repeat of the Bo Burnham Comedy Central Presents special, and I decided to catch it, merely for the sake of nothing else being on. That was the beginning of an awkward love affair between Bo and I, one which I am sure he is unaware of.
This would not last long as I watched the special over and over, and quickly needed something new. Enter his first hour long special Words Words Words, which is a phenomenal piece of one man showing us all that stand up doesn’t have to be simply speaking into a microphone, but can be an entire show with lights and sounds and things that you may not be used to seeing for such an intimate sort of performance art. Not to knock stand up comedians at all because I love stand up and the pure form of it, but sometimes, it just needs to get a little crazy, and in the best of ways. Now you can imagine my excitement when his new special What. was announced as it had been quite a while since his last special, and I needed some new Burnham like a fish needs water…..for drinking? Whatever, I wanted to watch the damn thing is what I’m getting to. Fuck you and your analogies. Anyways, as I raced home through snowy weather and people driving like assholes through the streets, I kept thinking to myself, will this new special be just as good as the previous? Or will it cause me to lose faith in society as a whole? Well, let’s just say I’m still talking to you guys and not shutting myself away in response to a severe disappointment. I watched the new special, and this is what happened….
I got home and immediately did my usual routine of shedding my work clothes before entering what I like to call the magic zone: no pants and all of the coffee that is available to me. I sat in my favorite chair, acquired all of my favorite leisure activity materials. I fired up Netflix and prepared myself for hilarity. 5 minutes into the special, and I was already amazed. The opening sequence blew my mind. It’s hard enough to film a phone conversation when you are the only one speaking, as it just doesn’t seem natural, yet Bo talks to himself as if it was a full on conversation with a totally different human being. It was nuts. I was staring in disbelief and crying at the same time because I was laughing so hard. This guy is completely in his own league. I love traditional stand up, but Bo doesn’t do traditional stand up most of the time. Like previously stated, it’s more of a one man show and this special goes out to prove it. Between the new songs he performs, which show how much he has grown in material and subject matter, to the new poems he brings to us from his new book which is being released very soon, everything flows into each other seamlessly, even if he remarks how difficult segues are. He never seems to miss a beat, but you can visibly see how difficult it is on him to do everything so on point. Shit, it even made me tired to see him running around the stage while performing this goddamn show that must have been ejaculated from the darkest and most magical part of his mind. I loved it.
Something however that kind of caught me off guard, was the fact that he seemed to be more aware of the audience in the crowd than in previous performances, such as the longest awkward stare in existence he gets involved in. I don’t even understand how the girl in the front row did not go all red faced when it started, let alone have it go on for so long. His facial expressions and body language fit perfectly for this show, and I can only imagine how many hours of practice he had while creating this special. I can understand how some comics may see him as more of a gimmick, but I cannot accept that as he does do traditional stand jokes, and there is only so many of those “my wife” or “ my kids” or “ my life” jokes that I can handle. They get fucking boring and irritating after a while. I don’t give a fuck if your grandmother talks in a funny accent. Mine did too, yet I didn’t make a whole stand up act out of it. It’s fucking annoying. It’s too refreshing to see Bo do his thing so I refuse to acknowledge those who tend to bust his chops a bit. They are entitled to do so, but they are wrong. Moving on.
If you watch this show, I know you will be impressed beyond belief, however, if you watch the end sequence and the sheer fucking ridiculousness and absolute perfection that it is, and do not feel overwhelmed with happiness and awe, then I do not know what else I can do for you. It is simply wonderful to watch. When it first starts happening and he lets you know that the end of the show has come, make sure to completely lock yourself into your position, and wait to experience the magic. The medley that is performed is ludicrous speed at its fastest. I was watching it with my mouth open. We all sometimes think that we can put together these funny sounds on a computer to make other funny sounds and songs, but Bo does it on stage, and the result is perfect. I won’t even go into detail about what it includes, because that would be denying you a fresh look at it when you watch it, but trust me, you are going to love it. Watching it and thinking about it now I am still amazed he was able to do it. The movements, the sounds, the facial expressions and just everything else that goes into it was right on point. I didn’t want to look away even as I started to piss myself because I forgot to go before the show started. I wanted to watch it uninterrupted, and bladder be damned.
With the cancellation of Zach Stone, I was sorely in need of some more Bo in my life, and this special delivered. Zach Stone, if you never got a chance to watch it, was Bo’s show on MTV, and it was cancelled after the first season so MTV could make room for more underage buttsluts. No offense, but all offense. You’re terrible. MTV fucked up on that, but it at least gave us one season of seeing Zach Stone try to be famous, or make a sex tape, or do whatever he does to be endearing, which is pretty easy for him. What. is on Netflix right now for streaming and on YouTube as well, and his book comes out soon as well, so if you are having difficulties getting gifts for friends and family, direct them towards the Bo collection. You will most definitely enjoy it. Besides, when has Arthur ever steered you wrong? Barring the ghoul incident and the destruction of that Midwest town, I have been good to you all, so be good to Bo and check his stuff out. You’ll be happy you did!
PS: I know some of these pics are from Words Words Words…..but calm the fuck down.
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners. Please click on the “About Us” tab for our takedown policy.