Bo Burnham, seems to be in a constant state of permanent life crisis and has once again turned out an hour of satirical and introspective work onto the Cullen stage. On Saturday (3/7), Burnham hit up Houston to perform a show on his ‘Make Happy’ tour at the Cullen Performance Hall. Always presenting himself as a comedian/singer hybrid, his latest work has been more theatrical and personal than ever before. Much like his previous comedy special, ‘what.’ released in 2013 and available free (here) on YouTube, he makes comedy out of comedy. You won’t hear a story from his personal life, or an weird anecdote, Burnham specializes in deconstructing the themes that comedy was built upon and makes fun of them. Even with his younger demographic, Burnham never simplifies his jokes to fit their needs and creates what he wants. The outcome bears a very self-aware comedy show with songs that will have you on the verge of tears from laughter, then on the verge of tears from sadness. A double-edged sword that Burnham swings very skillfully.
Starting out as a teenager in his bedroom with a keyboard, his growth has also brought with it a lot of lights. This show is as flashy as ever, synchronized lights, unnessecary smoke, which he makes fun of and admits it costing $150 per show even though the money could be put to better use. At moments, it’s easy to forget how perfectly the show is timed. Even though he jumps between the keyboard and the microphone it is very much a performance rather than a relaxed college show. He brings to attention the things that everyone in our modern society takes part in and sends it whirling back into their face with a message that exemplifies the twisted and weird nature that we as a society have created.
In one of his new bits, he sings about men and women forming an image of a perfect romantic partner and the contradictions that people build in their heads about the perfect partner, a bad boy who is not too bad, “a feminist who likes to pay for stuff”, “a girl who isn’t obsessed with her looks but is insanely hot” he says and continues to tear down all of these by telling the listeners to lower their expectations. He builds up an idea and turns around to tear it down and definitely keeps that theme running throughout his songs. Effective and funny. He is also very quick to play with and shut down hecklers which seemed to be in abundance at this weekend’s show. Much like his last show, Burnham placed his most powerful song for last, without giving away the end, he covers problems with autotune. He also returned to some old favorites, singing “Oh Bo” and “Men and Women” and “From God’s Perspective” which had the whole auditorium singing along with him. An unforgettable performance filled with deep thoughts and laughs.
Whether or not the show will be turned into a comedy special for the public to buy and watch has yet to be determined but if Bo Burnham takes a stop by again make sure to buy a ticket and experience his work first hand.
Check out Bo Burnham’s latest music video “Repeat Stuff“:
By Yalda Etemadi