“Inside” is a comedy special that was released on Sunday, May 30, 2021, featuring the return of Bo Burnham into the world of comedy after a five-year hiatus. Being such a widely well-received comedy special, it’s unsurprising to note that it has also been nominated for an Emmy award. This is one of the first things that caught my attention when I learned Burnham had made a new special, as I’ve been a fan of his work for years now. That being said, there are a few major grievances I have with the show, which I’ll get into later. But, first off, I’d like to point out what “Inside”does right.
As per usual with Burnham, the music he puts out is catchy and does really well at sticking in your head. He also continues his trend of keeping a healthy mix of skits and music, taking care not to fill up too much time with one over the over. One more thing to note is this special was made entirely by Burnham himself. Credit to him for making an hour and a half of content all by himself over the course of a year while stuck in his own home.
Now, I feel the need to point out the things I didn’t enjoy. First and foremost, the show just isn’t that funny. You see, Burnham has always had a particular comedic style that made use of sarcasm and irony to make light of the world around him. Those moments of comedy would usually be paired up with occasional moments of introspection and self-deprecation which balanced out the comedic tones. “Inside” lacks all of that and instead chooses to focus almost entirely on the introspection and steady mental decline of Burnham himself. While this isn’t inherently the worst, it becomes draining when the only other attempts at making jokes lack any real substance. Perhaps the biggest example of this is the song “Jeff Bezos,” which starts off catchy but soon turns dark, with nothing to get out of the edginess it holds.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I entirely disliked “Inside.” It did do some things right after all, and I am a fan of his more introspective songs. However, with the lack of comedic substance it mostly just feels heavy and I found myself struggling to watch beyond the halfway point. Nevertheless, even if I couldn’t find much enjoyment in it, I would still urge you to give it a try and decide for yourself.