Goodbye sadness, hello jokes.
Bo Burnham is a man of many talents — he’s a comedian, musician, actor, director, and poet. He got his start on YouTube in 2006. However, he was posting funny songs on YouTube before it became a platform that really created celebrities and careers. He was simply posting silly songs he recorded in his high school bedroom to share with his friends and family.
Bo Burnham’s YouTube videos became a hit and now they have over 200 million views.
In 2008, he signed a four-year record deal with Comedy Central Records. He also released his EP, Bo fo Sho, that year. In 2009, he recorded a half-hour Comedy Central special and became the youngest comedian, at the age of 18, to release a special on the network. His full-length album titled Bo Burnham also came out that same year.
Burnham was born and raised in Massachusetts where he graduated from an all-boys catholic school called St. John’s Preparatory School. He was involved in the theatre program and worked diligently to be on the honor roll throughout his high school years. When he graduated in 2008, he got into New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to study experimental theatre. However, he decided to not attend and instead focus on his comedy pursuits.
In 2010, Bo Burnham released his second album called Words Words Words and recorded his first live special, of the same name, and it aired on Comedy Central. That year he was nominated for “Best Comedy Show” at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for his Words Words Words performance.
That year he also wrote, produced, and starred in an MTV reality show satire called Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous. Each episode focused on Zach rebranding himself in hopes to become famous and it was an intelligent subversion of the reality television genre. However, placing the show on a network among the reality shows he is poking fun of caused some viewers to not understand that it was satirical, thus it was not picked up for a second season.
Bo Burnham’s third comedy special and album, What., came out in 2013 on Netflix, as well as his YouTube channel. That same year he also released his first poetry book, Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone.
His third stand-up special, Make Happy, was released on Netflix in 2016. In this special, he touched on topics like fame, anxiety, and depression. He also used this special to imply that he was taking a break from performing comedy to focus on his mental health and pursue other creative projects.
In 2018, the first film that he wrote and directed, called Eighth Grade premiered and gained widespread praise. For the film, he won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Film, along with many other awards and nominations.
Bo Burnham is an extremely talented and hilarious performer, and I have been a fan of his work for years after seeing him live at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles in 2013 alongside Pete Holmes and Nick Kroll. I ended up seeing him perform well over sixteen times throughout the years and got to observe his writing process for all of his specials. At times he would even perform half of a song and then abruptly end it in the middle and say “I don’t have an ending to this yet,” and then at his next show, he would have an ending.
Although Bo seems very outspoken on stage, he is incredibly shy in real life, as I discovered when I was cast for one of his music videos, Repeat Stuff, in 2014. Having recognized me from some of his past shows, he invited me to sit in his director’s chair to watch the other scenes during filming — even eating with me during the lunch break.
Take a look at our collection of the best Bo Burnham quotes and funny jokes from his best stand-up comedy shows:
1. Live without an audience.
“I know very little about anything, but I do know this: if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.” — Bo Burnham
2. My ex had a weird fetish.
“My ex-girlfriend had this really weird fetish…She used to like to dress up as herself and then act like a f—ing b—h all the time.” — Bo Burnham
3. Bo Burnham on becoming famous.
“I had a privileged life and I got lucky and I’m unhappy.” — Bo Burnham
4. The difference between Coke and Pepsi.
“Dicks and vaginae are like Coke and Pepsi, I strongly prefer one but my dad thinks they both taste the same.” — Bo Burnham
5. Song from the perspective of God.
“You pray so badly for Heaven. Knowing any day might be the day that you die. But maybe life on earth could be heaven. Doesn’t just the thought of it make it worth a try?“ — Bo Burnham
6. I love you just the way you are.
“I love you just the way you are but you don’t see you like I do. You shouldn’t try so hard to be perfect. Trust me, perfect should try to be you.” — Bo Burnham
7. It’s not always what you think.
“Look at them they’re just staring at me like, ‘Come and watch the skinny kid with the steadily declining mental health, and laugh as he attempts to give you what he cannot give himself’” — Bo Burnham
8. According to Bo Burnham, quotes are for dumb people.
“Quotes are for dumb people who can’t think of something intelligent to say on their own.” — Bo Burnham
9. Comedy should be positive.
“Comedy should be a source of positivity. I don’t want to bully people, and I don’t want people to come to my show to feel terrible about something. So I’m actually very open to having a conversation about what I should or shouldn’t say.” — Bo Burnham
10. Bo Burnham is too anxious for fame.
“I think it would collapse my heart if I was super famous. I don’t have the nerve for it, I’m too anxious. I don’t know how you’re not obsessed with how people perceive you, because they’re real people, you know? You can convince yourself that they don’t really know you, and that’s true, but how can it not hurt your feelings?” — Bo Burnham
11. He believes that laughter is the best medicine.
“Laughter is the best medicine, you know, besides medicine.” — Bo Burnham
12. An important question.
“Where are all the sour patch parents?” — Bo Burnham
13. Don’t fight fire with fire.
“My father is so hard to get along with because he is such a man’s man, you know? He believes for example that you should always fight fire with fire which is a horrible way to live your life, especially for him ‘cause he is a firefighter. So he was fired.” — Bo Burnham
14. Bo Burnham on the gender dichotomy.
“The huge step that we’re gonna have to take is to stop deifying our biology and to move away from it… so I think all of that stuff will be the huge hump for humans, just to stop giving a fuck. And that’s exciting and it’s fun and it’s weird, but I feel like there’s some people holding up the walls of the little death star trash compactor like, “no, but [men and women] are different…” like, why not embrace this sort of incredible storm that’s happening in the middle of them, of the sides, dissolving?” — Bo Burnham
15. The world is funny, according to Bo.
“Being a comedian isn’t being an insensitive prick capitalizing on the most animalistic impulses of the public, it’s being a hero! The world isn’t sad. The world’s funny! I get it now! I’m a sociopath!” — Bo Burnham
16. Once a week hobby.
“Once a week, I like to slip into a deep existential depression where I lose all my sense of oneness and self-worth.” — Bo Burnham
17. Poetic talent is easy to fake.
“Poetic talent is really easy to fake when thy sentences doth no fucking sense make.” — Bo Burnham
18. If I had a dime for every time…
“If I had a dime for every time a homeless guy asked me for change, I’d still say no.” — Bo Burnham
19. Bo Burnham can do impressions, too.
“Do you guys like impressions? (Yeah.) ‘Why?’ That was Socrates.” — Bo Burnham
20. His drug of choice is attention.
“My drug’s attention. I am an addict. But I get paid to indulge in my habit.” — Bo Burnham
21. A strange choice of adjectives.
“Me, with my strange choice of adjectives. You, with your muscular teeth and clockwise vagina.” — Bo Burnham
22. Math can be fun.
“What’s domain range? A kid with too much in his pants. And two balls minus one, seven titles at the Tour de France.” — Bo Burnham
23. He writes well-intentioned satire.
“I try and write satire that’s well-intentioned. But those intentions have to be hidden. It can’t be completely clear, and that’s what makes it comedy.” — Bo Burnham
24. Are you happy?
“On a scale from one to zero, are you happy?” — Bo Burnham
25. Love others.
“If your belief is hateful towards people, I couldn’t respect that.” — Bo Burnham
26. A poem by a dog.
“Roses are grey, Violets are a different shade of grey, Let’s go chase cars!” — Bo Burnham
27. He just wanted to perform.
“I’m still a kid in his bedroom, writing songs and playing them.” — Bo Burnham