Bo Burnham is an American comedian, singer-songwriter, musician, actor, and Internet celebrity. Writing comedic and satirical songs with a politically incorrect slant, his YouTube videos have received more than 70 million views by October 2010. His first EP "Bo Fo Sho" was released in June 2008 by Comedy Central Records, and his first full-length self titled album was released by the same label in March 2009. On January 31, 2010 it was announced that Burnham finished overall in voting in 2010's Comedy Central Stand-up Showdown.
As detailed by Burnham himself, 2006 was the beginning of what would become his musical comedy career. Rehearsing a play at his high school that summer, Burnham began writing songs about teenage angst and debuting them to his fellow high school thespians. He then videotaped himself performing two songs and posted them to the video-sharing website YouTube in December 2006, so that his older brother Pete could watch them from college. While response to his videos on YouTube was initially unexceptional, when they were copied to Break.com they became an overnight sensation, with traffic to his videos multiplying over 111 times.
Accompanying himself on guitar or electric piano, Burnham continued to release self-described "pubescent musical comedy" songs and videos online as his fame and recognition grew. Described by The Boston Globe's Joseph P. Kahn as "simultaneously wholesome and disturbing, intimate in a folksy-creepy sort of way," Burnham wrote and released R-rated songs about white supremacy, Helen Keller's disabilities, homosexuality, and more. All of Burnham's home-released videos were self-recorded in and around his family's home in Hamilton, Massachusetts, most in his bedroom. Speaking with The A.V. Club in 2009, Burnham expressed his intent to give his productions a "do-it-yourself, almost like voyeurism."
Burnham applied to New York University (NYU), University of Southern California (USC), and Yale University, and was accepted to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Although expected to begin attending in Autumn 2008, he deferred his enrollment for a year to focus on his burgeoning media career.
Burnham recorded a performance in London for Comedy Central's "The World Stands Up" in January 2008 (aired June 30, 2008), and signed a four-record deal with Comedy Central Records. Comedy Central Records released Burnham's first EP, the six-song "Bo Fo Sho," as an online release-only album on June 17, 2008. Burnham's first full album, the eponymous "Bo Burnham," was released by Comedy Central Records on March 10, 2009.
Burnham has performed his music in the United States, including Cobb's Comedy Club, YouTube Live in San Francisco, Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City, and internationally in London and Montreal. In August 2010, Burnham was nominated for "Best Comedy Show" at the 2010 Edinburgh Comedy Awards "the world's most prestigious comedy prize" with a 10,000 cash prize after his inaugural performance of "Bo Burnham: Words, Words, Words" at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was instead awarded the "Panel Prize" carrying a 5,000 prize for "the show or act who has most captured the comedy spirit of the 2010 Fringe."
Compared to Ben Folds, Eminem, and Andrew Dice Clay, Burnham's music and performances tackle such taboo subjects as race, gender, human sexuality, and sex. Burnham describes his on-stage persona as a "more arrogant, stuck-up version himself."
On May 21, 2010, Burnham taped his first one-hour stand-up special entitled "Words, Words, Words" for Comedy Central from the House of Blues in Boston as part of the network's new "House of Comedy" series of stand-up specials. The special aired on Comedy Central on October 16, 2010. It was released on CD and DVD on October 19, 2010.
Burnham has already started compiling film credits with roles in Apatow's "Funny People," Rob Schneider's "Virgin on Bourbon Street," and most recently Federighi's coming-of-age comedy "Sin Bin."
Burnham created and starred in a show for MTV, "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous." This single camera comedy co-written by Bo with Dan Lagana was about a kid fresh out of high school who hires a camera crew to film him because he wants to be famous.
His first feature film as writer and director, "Eighth Grade," was released in July 2018 to widespread critical acclaim and received numerous accolades, including the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film.
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