Bo Burnham’s comeback with ‘Inside” was relatable and amusing

Inside cover photo

“Inside” cover photo

I was first struck after watching Bo Burnham’s talent after watching “What” and “Make Happy” and have grown an obsession for comedian Bo Burnham. Now after a prolonged absence because of the pandemic, Bo has returned with a new musical comedy called “Inside.”

“Content,” the first song in “Inside,” is about Bo Burnham’s return after a five-year gap from comedy. He explains that his reasoning for being gone was because of his mental health, and he was beginning to have panic attacks while performing on stage. While Bo was gone, he focused on himself and tried to improve his mental health, soon returning with more “Content” for his fans. 

Even though “Content” is a short song, like most of his comedic songs in “Inside,” the song has a meaning of value. The first lines refer to the worldwide Covid quarantine. Bo writes the music in the third person and says that if he told himself a year ago that he would be stuck inside his home that he would say, “Interesting; now leave me alone.” Bo also goes further into detail about the things that occurred while he was in quarantine. One lyric that I found very relatable during this time is “I booked a haircut, but it got rescheduled,” because I also booked a haircut, but my hairdresser rescheduled it and had to come to my house to do my hair. 

Mama, I got a job I love and my own apartment//Mama, I got a boyfriend, and I’m crazy about him//Your little girl didn’t do too bad.

— Bo Burnham

The last part of this song introduces the “Content” that Bo has excitingly created for his fans. He says, “Daddy made you your favorite, open wide,” as opposed to a father feeding his kids their favorite food, but in this case is comedy content and Bo’s fans. 

Comedy, the second song on “Inside,” shows Bo’s attempt to heal the world with humor, but he questions himself, should he be joking at a time like this? Bo explains all of the terrible things going on in our world, such as protests, war, and drought. He sees nothing in our frightening world that he could be joking about. 

Progressing through the tune, Bo soon realizes that the world might be dreadful but can be healed through comedy. With this, Bo includes many jokes, mockery, and dark humor into the song.     

“FaceTime with my Mom” is a very relatable song to not only me but my mom as well. Bo sings that while he is on FaceTime, his mom holds her “iPhone five no further than six inches from her face,” which I relate to from experiencing family members on a call. I also could picture my mom while Bo exclaims that his “mother is covering her camera with her thumb.” 

When the pandemic first started, some families were separated, and one of the only ways we could see and talk to each other was FaceTime. During the pandemic, I know that my time on the phone with someone close to me was precious, but it may just be the opposite to Bo. Although Bo has a turbulent relationship with both of his parents, he sings that those forty minutes are essential when he is on FaceTime with his mom. However, towards the end of the song, it provides me with the opposite idea, ending off with the intention of a “waste of time.”  

“How the World Works” starts as a song that explains how every living thing works together to make the world a better place. He talks about how the bees drink from the flowers and leaves with their pollen. Bo pretends to think that this is how the world works until one of Bo’s characters—Socko, a sock puppet—comes into play. Socko sings about how the world is filled with blood and touches on some pretty controversial topics happening in our world today, such as protests, politics, and cops. This surprises Bo, and he learns that the world is working appallingly. 

“White Woman’s Instagram” is a long, essential list of pictures a white woman could potentially post on her Instagram. 

Not only does he joke about it, but Bo writes the ultimate song undertaking a white woman’s role on social media. I don’t think I could ever relate a piece so much to my Nana’s Instagram account. All of the words match up perfectly. I’m even optimistic that the lyrics in the music match up with my mom’s social media account as well, such as “tiny pumpkins and fuzzy comfy socks.” 

While this song mocks women on social media, Bo includes a piece of information about his life for his audience. He refers to himself with the lyrics, “Mama, I got a job I love and my own apartment//Mama, I got a boyfriend, and I’m crazy about him//Your little girl didn’t do too bad.” Even though it portrays the idea that he’s talking about an adult’s loss of her mom, Bo refers to his own successes and what he aspires, undercover. 

Although short, “Unpaid Intern” is an accurate portrayal of an actual unpaid intern. Now, I am not and never have been an unpaid intern, but I happen to know the basics of what the “job” is. 

Bo lists all of the unpaid chores that you could do like picking up coffee for colleagues, sitting quietly during a meeting, sorting papers, and at the end of the day, you relax back at your dorm. 

“Bezos I” is my favorite song by far. It always gives me the energy to dance. It is one of the shortest songs; however, I enjoy it. 

I have a lot of connections to this song, surprisingly. Whenever I see an Amazon truck or van drive by, I think of Jeffrey Bezos as the company’s CEO. I also have a connection because one of my friends sent me a video of him playing it on the piano, and I thought that was pretty creative of him; it made me laugh heartily. Another way it tied to my life is because Jeffrey Bezos has always been kind of a joke to me. I know I shouldn’t joke about one of the wealthiest people in existence, but just the presence of him makes me giggle.  

This next song talks about texting that some teenagers and young adults use when they are not with their significant other. Bo explains that he is texting with a girl in this manner while he is all alone in his home due to COVID until his phone dies. 

“Look Who’s Inside Again” is one of the more emotional tunes for me. 

The first part distinguishes that everyone was trapped inside during the pandemic and had to find something to do. Bo explains that he was stuck inside his room where he initially made YouYube videos for his brother as a child. These videos included Bo making jokes and funny sounds as he encompasses them into the song. He references coming outside after a pandemic as being similar to surrendering to police. The “Hands up” symbolizes a captive audience.  

Overall, the first half of Bo Burnham’s return is emotional and deep, but also includes humor within.