This month Mick watched comedian Bo Burnham's one hour Netflix-exclusive special Make Happy.
The thing about comedy specials is you usually know what you're getting: someone standing on stage with a microphone and telling jokes. If you're familiar with the comedian, you may be able to further predict the content of the jokes in advance. Bo Burnham shatters the standard one hour stand-up format in this special, making for a one of a kind experience.
If there was one word to summarize what sets Bo apart from other stand ups, it's this: Showmanship. Dude knows how to put on a dynamic and engaging program with a hilarious blend of comedy, light shows, and music. It's particularly fitting because a major theme of Bo's work is the nature of performance and how in our modern society we are pressured into performing for each other at all times on the stage of social media.
There are points in this special where Bo gets serious, where he takes advantage of his place on the stage to do a little bit of social and political grandstanding. Immediately afterwards, he calls attention to how this kills the momentum of the show and wonders aloud as to how he will bring the audience back, making everyone laugh in the process.
Bo has a whip-smart sense of humor and isn't afraid to take risks. He plays with different formats in his jokes, using a mix of extemporaneous crowd-work alongside meticulously pre-prepared songs. One bit in particular that stands out in memory is a part where Bo asks an audience member his name, only to burst into a song about how he had sex with that audience member's mother.
Overall, Make Happy is a fantastic special. It's funny and thoughtful and it's very clear that Bo put in a lot of work and time to make this happen. Give it a watch and you'll find that you've never seen anything quite like it before.
Check it out!