Comedy Review: “Bo Burnham: Make Happy” is the finest in experimental comedy

Grade: A

Offering his own twist on comedy, Bo Burnham’s hour-long standup “Make Happy” presents a unique mix of self-deprecating humor, commentary on personal situations and witty original music.

Burnham’s performance starts off with a crazy display of laughable hip-hop remixes and skits involving the audience’s participation, which immediately draws the viewer’s attention. Right from the beginning, he establishes himself as a guy with a lot of energy and a small filter. He’s even is bold enough to take jokes from the audience and dish it right back to them.

Unlike other stand-up comedians, Burnham is always moving, meaning he’s always dashing across the stage like he’s got ants in his pants. His movement keeps his skit going along at a great pace. He doesn’t stick to one subject for very long. At one point, the then-25-year-old performed a song that parodied nearly every country song in existence, then immediately offered his commentary on a recent incident in a men’s restroom.

It would be improper to limit Burnham to only two or three subgenres of comedy. His repertoire of entertainment is seemingly limitless. He has a lighting and sound crew that effectively convey his wacky style. In fact, the best way to describe Burnham’s style would be experimental, since much of it seems to be an utterly original style, not to mention music that is unmatched by any other comedian on stage.

What’s even more remarkable is that Burnham, despite his young age, seems to attract a broad demographic of audience members. This is partly due to his ability to turn a joke about nearly anything as well as his creative use of song.

“Make Happy” establishes Burnham as not only a quality comedian, but also a quality songwriter and performer, even if they are just parodies or songs used to make fun of personal situations. Music has always been something that attracts people, so if you mix a quality singer-songwriter with a beloved comedian, then you got a recipe for success. It’s clear that he also has a large role in the way his show is run, considering he is credited as being a writer, director and an executive producer of “Make Happy” — along with being the show’s only performer.

One of the funniest bits of Burnham’s show was his take on the width of cans of Pringles, of which he has a difficult time putting his hand into. He wrote a song about this and even took a poll from the audience, of which many agreed with Burnham that the cans are too small and that the Kellogg Company needs to make them wider.

“Make Happy” is available as an album and as a movie that is available exclusively on Netflix, so you have plenty of time to watch it without it being dumped from the site’s video library unexpectedly. It is a high-quality performance from a guy who’s not-so high-strung. So go ahead and grab a chair and watch this unique performance by Burnham. “Make Happy” will definitely make you happy.

Nathaniel is the Culture Editor and is a fourth-year journalism and business administration student at the University of Maine. He have been writing for The Maine Campus since November of 2014, covering everything from community events to films.

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