Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’: A Comedy Special and an Inspired Experiment

The incentives of the net, those who reward outrage, extra and sentiment, are the villains of this present. In a giddy homage to “Cabaret,” Burnham, in sun shades, performs the M.C. of the web, welcoming everybody with a decadent menu of choices whereas disco lights twirl. It’s a lyrically dense tune with camerawork that hurries up with its rhythm. Just as usually, Burnham’s shot sequencing performs in opposition to the which means of a tune, like when he breaks out a glamorous cut up display to enrich a comic book tune about FaceTiming along with his mother.

“Inside” is the work of a comic book with creative instruments most of his friends ignore or overlook. Not solely has his musical vary expanded — his pastiche of kinds contains bebop, synth-pop and peppy present tunes — Burnham, who as soon as printed a e-book of poems, has additionally turn into as meticulous and artistic along with his visible vocabulary as his language.

Some of the narrative of the present may be indulgently overheated, enjoying into clichés concerning the strategy of the brooding artist, however Burnham has anticipated this and different criticisms, and built-in them into the particular, together with the concept that drawing consideration to potential flaws fixes them. “Self-awareness does not absolve anyone of anything,” he says.

True, however it may deepen and make clear artwork. “Inside” is a difficult work that for all its boundary-crossing stays ultimately a comedy within the spirit of neurotic, self-loathing stand-up. Burnham skewers himself as a virtue-signaling ally with a white-savior advanced, a bully and an egoist who attracts a Venn diagram and locates himself within the overlap between Weird Al and Malcolm X. That his particular is an indictment of the web by an artist whose profession was born and flourished there may be the final word joke.

Burnham lingers on his behind-the-scenes technical tinkering — dealing with lights, modifying, training traces. He’s bedraggled, more and more unshaven, rising a Rasputin-like beard. The aesthetic telegraphs authenticity and vulnerability, however the particular’s gorgeous closing photographs reveal the misdirection at work, encouraging skepticism of the performativity of such realism.

Toward the tip, he seems fully bare behind his keyboard. It’s a visible that signifies a person exposing himself, till you understand he’s in a highlight.

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