First I’d like as always to share something that i find pretty awesome, and that would be Bo Burnham. This genius singer, songwriter, poet, standup comic is Easily the funniest comic/one man show performer I’ve ever seen. I’m not going to put an asterisk there, or define to a certain genre, or even name a close second, he’s THAT amazing.
When i suggest his work to people, however, they always ask me why, they say, well what does he do that is so funny and entertaining, and i have a hard time answering that. And if I can’t explain why he’s so funny why would they remember it long enough to check it out later that day, so where is my attempt to try and express what i think makes Bo Burnham great.
Bo Burnham started out his career in the mid 2000’s getting his first taste of popularity in 2006 when he started putting videos on youtube of him in his room playing the songs he had written himself. His first really popular song was entitled “love is” and is currently Rocking nearly 6 million views since it’s upload in 2009. Since then he has had his own show which is titled “Words Words Words” and is streaming on Netflix right now.
What makes him so funny though? Is it how vulgar he is? Not really. Is it his lack of respect for established interests? Again i don’t think so. There’s no real single thing i could say that singularly makes him funny, but as a whole he’s brilliant.
I have come up with my own theory about comedy, people love to laugh at other’s expense, but there is always an internal feeling in our civilization that never wants someone else to see us laughing at their hardship, and this creates a general moral object commonly referred to as “the line” as soon as “the line” is crossed our minds no longer perceive something as funny and things become offensive. Once you’re into the offensive side of the line you are now at the mercy of the listener’s judgement of what they call offensive. Any time you hear something and your conscience takes a moment to decide on right or wrong, you’re not laughing you’re thinking, and the only time having your audience thinking in the setting of a comedy show beneficial to you is during inuendo and misdirection, otherwise your goal is to either TELL the audience what is funny, or to offer it to them in the format of “Joke, Audiance momentary pause of realization, Reaction.” The moment the listener breaks that chain by thinking about their own morality the illusion that is comedy is shattered.
Bo Combines a mastery of timing, and treading that line to keep the listener laughing without ever having to worry about the morality issue. He is commonly referred to as ” the comic for horrible people” but I really don’t think that’s true, i think the absurdiy of his humour makes us FEEL like we’re laughing at something horrible, but the context is always light enough that it doesn’t trigger us to think of the moral implications. This on top of his fast pacing , smart humor, and extremely creative comedic style is one great formula for some truly hilarious moments. make him fantastic.
But that’s not all that creates the illusion, He never addresses “the line” and never gives he Audience time to address “the line” either, Creating what i like to consider moral-free humor, Which in writing seems like something deplorable. It’s not though, It’s not disregarding morals, it’s freed from them, and i think that’s wonderful. When you stop DEFINING what’s offensive, you’re just left with freedom to say whatever you think is funny before it becomes hurtful, and as the listener we can think about that without bias.
So that’s what makes Bo burnham My favorite Comic, his ability to say some pretty awful things without really hurting anyone, which if you think about it, that’s what comedy is about right? Comedy is simply what makes us laugh, and if something makes you laugh without hurting or offending anyone, well what better definition of comedy is there?
I myself strive for this, because if nothing is sacred, nothing is offensive. Kind of like the Moral pedestal white on black racism has been put on, It’s not so bad but it’s so taboo that you can’t drop a strike on an individual without implying the same about the rest of the race. For example, my friend James surfs the wave of Wellfare, he COULD work but doesn’t, he’s on food stamps and his family eats better than i do. He’s got a 2012 Escalade which he’s put a huge sound system that he always plays rap loud enough to rattle other cars in and new rims too. He has a 500,000 dollar home with a huge yard and a pool. Now guess what race James is. Well regardless if what race you guessed, or thought of, my description could be viewed as racist. THat’s freaking stupid, I can’t even talk about my friend without race being thrown in. Racism is stupid, and it’s never been more apparent than recently with this whole Trayvon martin thing.
I’m not going to tell you whether your guess about James is right or wrong, because does it matter? anyone is capable of doing that, and i can’t stand when my tax dollars go to people like this, i don’t care what color they are, This is wrong.