Bo Burnham is one of those very young up-and-coming comedians that will either turn you completely off or make you very happy that you made his acquaintance. I think I’m one of those rare folks who finds himself in the middle after watching this hour-long performance.
There is no question at all that Burnham processes incredible talent. He is one of the most clever comedians I’ve seen in ages. He has an understanding of the English language that we haven’t seen since the likes of George Carlin. There is a sophisticated intelligence at work here that is, unfortunately, easy to miss, if you don’t pay particular attention. Burnham is manic in his delivery. He changes subjects and speeds with a suddenness that is liable to leave you with whiplash. Before you can really think about what he’s said, he’s already three subjects down the road flipping you the finger for not keeping up. And while I appreciate comics who push the limits of political correctness, there are moments that Burnham pushes the taboos much farther than he should. His 9/11 joke fell flat for the live audience. He uses Hitler and the holocaust a bit too much. It’s almost as if he’s hoping you’ll tire of the routine. And then there’s his age. Some of the more risqué sexual stuff just seems wrong from a guy who looks like he’s a freshman in high school. He does a routine about Charlie Brown being molested. Way too far, dude.
Finally, the real genius behind Burnham’s act is his incredible musical ability. He often sits behind a piano and belts out riffs that could hold their own with anyone in the business. His novelty songs aren’t Weird Al, but more like Weird Al on acid. You get the sense that he could have had a remarkable musical career. The music also manages to act as a diversion amid the manic delivery of shorts that make up the most of his more traditional stand-up. None of this is roll-off-your-seat funny; in fact, it’s far more clever than it is funny. It’s worth a look, just to see what your own reaction to Bo Burnham might be. You’ll either love him or hate him. Unless you’re like me and his uncanny ability fascinates the heck out of you.
The show is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. This is typical concert image here. There’s not a lot of color in Burnham’s presentation, so colors aren’t going to grab your attention. The close-ups offer enough detail to look into the youngster’s eyes. Black levels are average.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is not really anything to write home about. You can hear everything, and the jokes work just fine.
I’m more interested in where Burnham will be in 5 years. I get the feeling that he’s still trying to find his legs. He survives in that career infancy because he’s smart and he’s clever. His appearance is somewhat disarming. I think the kid has potential. That will make this one of those early stages in the evolution of Bo Burnham. For that value alone, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. His age creates some awkward moments, but it’s his age and perspective that makes him fresh. “You gotta love irony.”