On Sunday, Netflix released Bo Burnham: Inside, a new comedy special that takes a hard look at self-isolation throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The special was written, filmed and edited entirely by Burnham while in quarantine at his home over the course of more than a year. By the end of its 87-minute run time, many fans were left wondering if the label "comedy" could really apply to it.
Burnham has a die-hard following for his meta, confessional musical comedy specials released over the last 14 years, so many fans were overjoyed to hear that he had made a new special in 2020. Even those who know his work best could not have been prepared for this new creation, however. Many are hesitant to even call it a "comedy special," suggesting terms like "experimental film" instead. While there are several silly songs that mirror Burnham's past work in ways, there are other long, difficult segments about Burnham's mental health and the implications that the pandemic has for life going forward.
In complete awe of Bo Burnham: Inside — the inspired, insightful, and insanely good special he wrote, directed, shot, and edited while in quarantine pic.twitter.com/ggQ2RdSwKy— Netflix (@netflix) June 1, 2021
There is also plenty of talk about politics — particularly social, economic and racial justice. Burnham turns a harsh gaze back on himself during these conversations as a well-intentioned but privileged straight white man. Even then, the conclusions he reaches are not flattering for him or for many of his fans.
Burnham's special received generally positive reviews from professional critics, and it made waves on social media as expected. It has inspired memes, praise and empathetic break-downs. Here is a look at what fans have to say about Inside, which is streaming now on Netflix.
It's not comedy, it's satire. #dark satire that makes us question our reality. It's genius.— Aviva Dawn (@avivadawn) June 1, 2021
Holy sh*t, Bo Burnham’s new special, “Inside”... he has the most singular blend of comedy and poignancy I’ve witnessed. It’s not too often I go from laughing at something to taking a break because it got TOO real. Also, probably some of my new favorite songs from him.— Thomas Sanders (@ThomasSanders) May 31, 2021
Burnham's special left many viewers reflective and thoughtful on the past year in a way that they hadn't felt before. They praised Burnham for capturing the spirit of 2020 in a way that no other art has managed to do.prevnext
inside by bo burnham (2021) pic.twitter.com/ymWJdB2ev3— peri | 7 days until loki (@MemelordPeri) May 30, 2021
Bo Burnham really ended Inside like that, he really did that man, I’m broken pic.twitter.com/DZsUwbwllv— Nova ⎊ talks2herself (@brandnovaday) May 30, 2021
just watched bo burnham's inside!! pic.twitter.com/JJGmzXYTMk— nem (@mantisnebula) May 31, 2021
After the emotional ending of Burnham's special, many fans went online to crack ironic jokes about the label "comedy." Some wondered if it was appropriate for a special to leave them feeling this way.prevnext
my official review of Inside from bo burnham pic.twitter.com/YGoPbUBYCR— Gabrielle Drolet (@gabrielledrolet) May 31, 2021
Me at the start of Bo Burnham’s new “Inside” special vs. me at the end of it. pic.twitter.com/tRZ5JoMp4U— not cory (@IAmNotCory) May 30, 2021
Watching Bo Burnham’s “Inside” and hopped on Google to search something and the first result was pic.twitter.com/f7sns9KIiO— The gremlin in your medicine cabinet (@GremlinIn) May 31, 2021
Because Burnham discussed suicidal ideation at great length in the special, many fans felt concerned for him when it was over. They hoped that he was receiving help in whatever form is best for him.prevnext
Burnham's signature songwriting style was in full effect here, and fans admitted that even the sour subject matter couldn't keep the songs from getting stuck in their heads. Many shared their favorites and discussed the merits of each one online.prevnext
Burnham's creations inspired an immediate outpouring of fan art featuring related images and fresh takes on his ideas.prevnext
I cannot fathom how difficult, time consuming and maddening it must have been to write, produce, film & edit your special entirely yourself @boburnham. Rewatching Inside again just to catch everything I missed while my mind wandered on about how you pulled off each scene. Bravo.— 100T Nadeshot (@Nadeshot) June 1, 2021
Content aside, many marveled at the creative and logistical realities of making this special for Burnham. They wondered how he accomplished it.prevnext
WHO DID IT BETTER: Gabbie Hanna or Bo Burnham? pic.twitter.com/CTVhVGnQjx— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) May 30, 2021
so true Netflix, the multinational billion dollar corporation, so true ☝️ pic.twitter.com/VEn9pgRA8H— socialist marxist libertarian slut (@satyrantist) June 1, 2021
Finally, some fans had fun with the specific call-outs of other celebrities or corporations in Burnham's specials. They were dying to see a reaction to his jabs.prevnext
While they enjoyed Burnham's special, some fans were quick to say they did not want any other content about the COVID-19 pandemic any time soon. They preferred this manic account over a dramatization.prev