The five funniest parts of Bo Burnham’s performance

From the self-deprecating to the parodic, Bo delivered at Jesse Auditorium.
Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

There is arguably no better comedian for a college campus than the young, ironic, musically talented Bo Burnham. He has no filter but isn’t obnoxious, he isn’t afraid to touch on politically incorrect topics but doesn’t come off as offensive (providing a lot of feminist and anti-racism critique), and he taps into the self-deprecating nature of college students. Last Friday, the comedian came to MU to perform his “Make Happy” show, and now I can’t wait till June 3 when a recording from his tour makes its way to Netflix so I can watch a “Make Happy” show all over again.

1) Calling out the security guards

Hands down, one of the funniest (if not the funniest) parts of Bo’s show was him calling out the Department of Student Activities staff flanking the stage. It started in his opening when he remarked that the guy supposed to protect him from being killed onstage looked pretty casual about it. After learning his name was Colton, Bo speculated his parents wanted him to “be an approachable cowboy” when they chose his name. It was the great “Is this scripted or not?” humor at the expense of others that everyone loves, and it never got old, even in the encore.

2) “Straight White Male”

Bo performed one of his best comic songs to date, “Straight White Male,” about the struggles of, uh, straight white males. For example, “three trips to the mall and zero khakis in my size” and “the churches never made me feel ashamed of who I am, but I get emails from Netflix that Gmail doesn’t mark as spam.” The lyrics were clever, funny and very, very real.

3) “Pandering”

Another great musical act in the show was a parody song about how incredibly wealthy “stadium country” artists pander to people who actually work hard. While these millionaires have never worked a day out in the field, they use phrases like “dirt roads” and “blue jeans” to make it seem like they have in order to rake in the cash from actual hard-working listeners. The best part was how scarily similar his song was to a real stadium country song. It also included one of the best lyrics of the night: “Y’all motherfuckers want a key change?”

4) The opening

Bo walked out in a black-and-gold Mizzou sweatshirt, garnering cheers from the audience, and then said almost immediately that the shirt cost too much money: “For $45, this better lick my ass. I can feel the letters on the inside!” (When he took it off later, he responded to cheers by saying “Don’t objectify me.”) Also, one of my favorite jokes of the show was uttered before Bo even came on stage — a computerized voice (that fans will recognize from “what.”) said: “The world is not a happy place. Guy Fieri owns two functioning restaurants.”

5) Audience engagements

During a break from the scripted acts, the lights in Jesse Auditorium turned on, Bo wandered into the crowd and had some fun engaging with the audience and ad-libbing jokes about their majors. He said to a choral direction major, “How are you going to direct them if pollution is killing them all?” He called on my friend (I went with a group of journalism majors) and after learning that I was writing about the show for the paper, he looked me in the eye and said: “Fuck your paper. Online media is taking your job,” and then, “Please like me.” It’s OK, Bo. I like you.

Edited by Katie Rosso |

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