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Sometimes after a long day or a particularly tough week, I like to fall back on watching things that I know will definitely bring me some happiness. Nothing scratches that itch for me better than Bo Burnham’s comedy specials, two of which are streaming on Netflix: One is called what. and one is called Make Happy.
Both specials see the YouTube star turned stand-up comedian turned writer/director put on a music/comedy hybrid show that indulges long, extended physical comedy bits and features hilarious, sometimes crass songs about subjects as light and ripe for comedy as the shallow nature of so many pop love songs, as well as subjects as weighty as anxiety and depression.
Burnham has been open about his issues with anxiety and panic attacks, and he brings that unfortunately relatable reality to the stage in his shows…when he isn’t ranting about, say, how his hands can’t fit inside of a Pringle’s can.
Over the past few years, Netflix has leaned heavily into comedy specials – probably because they’re relatively cheap and easy to produce for how much interest they garner – but none have hit my perfect sweet spot better than Bo Burnham’s outings.
In 2018, Burnham parlayed his successes in sketch YouTube comedy and longer-form Netflix special comedy into the truly wonderful movie, Eighth Grade, which uses his balance of laughs and anxiety to tremendous effect. As much as I love that movie, I still find myself returning again and again to his comedy specials. Like all comedy, they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re certainly worth a try if you’re looking for some laughs and some truth at the end of a hard day.
I’m Evan Rook.