From One Mentally Ill Artist to Another: An Actor Takes on Bo Burnham's Bleak Musical Humor, Inside-style
TitleFrom One Mentally Ill Artist to Another: An Actor Takes on Bo Burnham's Bleak Musical Humor, Inside-style
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AbstractIn 2020, actor and comic Bo Burnham filmed, directed, produced, and acted in Inside, a musical comedy special filmed in his guesthouse. Inside is a piece of artwork dripping with sarcasm that reflects Burnham's cynical view of the world. It is laden with apparently genuine moments brought into question by Burnham's performativity. Burnham and his stage persona are two very different people, and Inside shows how he straddles this line and blends the personal and the performer into one entity whose mental stability is questionable at best. Upon my first viewing of Inside during COVID-19, I heard my voice overlaid with Burnham's. His performativity and self-criticism resonated strongly with my creative spirit. The harshly realistic concepts of acting to survive and existing in a hyper-critical, Internet-saturated world felt like he was peering into my anxiety-riddled mind. Analyzing Burnham's comedy specials and considering the suffocating post-COVID landscape I still find myself in, I selected songs and monologues I could re-perform. Pulling from fevered breakdowns and journal entries, I wrote monologues, weaving together my texts and his into a cohesive story, interspersed with my recreations of his witty and often startlingly melancholy music, and created, filmed, and recorded this all in one academic year, solely in my dorm room. This film is a space where the lines between my acting and ramblings, captured by the camera, are blurred so indistinguishably that no one, perhaps even myself, can tell the difference.
DepartmentTheatre and Speech Communication
DegreeBachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Bachelor of Arts (BA)