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Bo Burnham – Make Happy


I haven’t watched a Bo Burnham show before; in fact I didn’t know his name before watching Make Happy. That’s not to say his isn’t a name worth knowing; just my perspective.

Some of my recent favourites in stand-up are: Louis CK, Hannibal Buress, Bill Burr, Marc Maron and Tom Segura (you may notice the connection which is of course: Netflix).  Another connection between these comedians is their style/subjects: everyday life, self-deprecation and social interaction; the kind of stand-up I seem to enjoy.

Burnham is a musical comedian, however, he keeps the musical sets/ jokes brief. A varied entertainer, Burnham uses stage lighting, soundtracks, stand-up comedy and his music throughout his performance. He is clearly aware that keeping the show varied is vital in keeping an audience attentive and avoiding a set becoming stale.

It seems fair to say that, as a previous Youtuber, Burnham’s intended audience is younger than the previous comedians mentioned. I wouldn’t go as far as saying Burnham has a less mature sense of humour as that’s not necessarily true. However, he does have an energetic delivery that, combined with some pop-culture topics, would appeal mainly to Millenials (birth years ‘89 – ’00).

Burnham describes his own set as “a series of discrete bits”, his topics and performance jumps around quite rapidly and with a moment’s loss of concentration you could find yourself in an entirely new segment.

If the fact a good percentage of the show includes Burnham singing on piano bothers you then this show may not be a strong recommendation, nor if you aren’t a fan of Youtube personalities. However, these were two opinions I had at beginning the show. I feel I should add that his ironic track about suicide has a dark humour that shouldn’t be overlooked; it dug his morals deeper and showed the full spectrum of Burnham’s sense of humour.

To accumulate Burnham’s hard work into a list of topics is unfair, but here’s a list to get an idea of what Burnham touches upon: Relationships, Media/fame, Country singers, Kanye west’s use of auto-tune and a pinch of self-deprecation.

Overall, if you have access to a Netflix account and anything in this article has caught your interest then Bo Burnham’s Make Happy is worth a watch. The performance seems to focus on a generation of undervaluing depressives with a self aware dark humour. Maybe it’s time I took a look at his previous work.