‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ Summary & Analysis – Sattire Cloaked In Comedy


Inside, a Netflix original created by Bo Burnham will look quite absurd, at first glance, to a person who is not open to experimental theatre, cinema or any performing arts. I say this because of a reason. Many of us are very uptight about the type of content that we want to watch. The look and feel of a film should be like the one that we are accustomed to watching. Anything outside the shell is generally rejected straight up because we do not want to waste our 90 minutes on something that firstly looks strange and secondly makes us uncertain about the fact that will it even entertain us or not. But let me tell you something. Give this piece precisely 5 minutes and I guarantee that you will be hooked on it. It is going to affect you in ways and means that you cannot fathom.

Bo Burnham: Inside – What is it?

Bo Burnham started his career as a youtube content creator in 2005. During one of his performances in 2016, he had a panic attack on stage. He cut off from the world, stayed indoors until he was confident that he could handle those anxiety attacks. When he planned to come out finally, the lockdown happened. We all were trapped inside. Bo Burnham decided to shoot his next stand up indoors in one room. Inside, was a result of that experiment. He wrote, acted, directed, did the cinematography and the editing all by himself, without the help of any crew. We get to enter inside the mind of Bo Burnham. We get to witness what he thinks about the current social and political scenario. We get to hear his ingenious viewpoint. 

“How the world works”- with Bo Burnham

The act serves as a much needed critique of the times we live in and the world that we have created for ourselves. The criticism is weaved together through multiple songs. The lyrics are strong to say the least. It addresses the elephant in the room. He isn’t scared to point out the hypocrisy or bring out the ugly truth. 

Bo Burnham is definitely not an idealist and neither should he be. He is a realist. He talks about the balance of power in this world. He says that the world is divided into two categories i.e. the powerful and the weak. The ones who possess the power always have it their way always. The law, the order and the whole system mocks those who are socially or economically downtrodden. He also points towards the labour exploitation in the modern era. From the concept of an unpaid intern to the unequal pay, he seeps inside each and every crack of the system. Surely he isn’t in a mood to spare anybody. 

Humans – Attention seeking performing artists

Bo Burnham had always been vocal about his viewpoints. He feels that humans were always attention seekers. This innate aspect of human psychology was amplified by social media. He does a meta commentary on the culture established by social media. Self analysis and giving importance to one’s own understanding takes a backseat when an incessant need for validation is systematically grown inside every individual. Social media is indeed a strange place. Earlier the content which had some substance became known to all. But now trends and viral content might or might not have to do anything with substance. 

A Masterpiece 

The narrative moves like photons do in a double slit experiment. It’s a commentary through a comical prism. Like the two faced reality of our world.  

You laugh, you get entertained and then you press the pause button and go back again to hear what Bo Burnham just said. And then it rings a bell. It’s sweetened in a comedic batter but the insides are as bitter and harsh as they could be. The whole narrative embodies the chaos and absurdity of the present times. That is the beauty of the whole act. It is quite kafkaesque in its approach and resonates with the biting anti fascist standpoint that we once heard in Pink Floyd songs. 

Streaming on Netflix, Bo Burnham: Inside, should be watched by everyone. It’s thought provoking and is able to cross the barrier of traditions and present a uniquely executed viewpoint of man in times stranger than fiction.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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