Inside by Bo Burnham
Book of the Month for October is not actually a book at all! It is an original musical-comedy special created for Netflix by the famed American comedian, Bo Burnham. Welcome to: Inside.
Winner of multiple Emmy Awards, Inside is 90-minutes long and one of the most original and funny things you will ever watch. So put down what you are doing, turn Netflix on, and laugh your stresses away.
Inside: Healing the World with Comedy
Inside is a mock-documentary slash satirical comedy slash musical about being stuck inside during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Filmed in a single room of Bo Burnham’s house, Inside depicts his crumbling mental health during a year like no other.
The pace and plot are intentionally frenetic (to mimic the way we digest social media). And the songs cover a variety of genres: Face Time with my Mum is an R&B track about the woes of trying to video chat with technology-confused parents (“my Mother’s covering the camera with her thumb, I’ll waste my time Face Timing with my Mum”). Comedy is a superb, Broadway-esque song in which Bo pokes fun at “woke” celebrities (including himself) with a satirical irony that will likely be lost on the people it is insulting. White Woman’s Instagram looks at the insanity of social media. While 30 is the funniest song about getting older that I have ever heard.
The songs are not all light-hearted. ‘How the World Works‘ is a Sesame Street inspired song about global oppression. ‘Welcome to the Internet’ is a harrowing depiction of the how our lives are controlled by our obsession with the internet. And ‘All Eyes on Me‘ is a moving song about mental health under the spotlight.
All Eyes on Me
Bo Burnham is a gifted musician. He has a great voice; his songs are well-written, intelligent, and laced with satire and irony; and while making you laugh they can also make you sad, angry or happy.
But beneath the music and the laughter, Inside is even more remarkable. The show is an astute observation of the complex emotional experiences of those fortunate enough to face the pandemic from the safety of their own home. It deals with boredom, fear, anxiety, and guilt in a way that is unapologetic. And it has been rightly applauded for doing so.
And above all else, it deals with mental health in a way that is both sad and alarming, but above all else, real. In his painfully accurate depiction of mental illness during the Pandemic, it is clear that Bo Burnham has been on the Inside of that battle. And his insight is what makes Inside so relatable for many of us.
Never mind, I Don’t Wanna Know
I have lost count of the times I have watched this one-off show. I pester my friends to watch it so much that they might change their number. And sure, my family are tired of me singing the songs from the show around the house all day.
But every once in a while something comes along that is so original, so imaginative, and so remarkable that it deserves our attention. And in 2021, that something is Inside by Bo Burnham.
So trust me and give Inside 90-minutes of your time. It is one of the most entertaining things you will see this year in any format.
Inside is available on Netflix.
And if you liked this article check out my Book of the Month blog series. This free, informal book club introduces a variety of fiction/non-fiction authors and genres to keep you entertained.
Don’t have time for novels? Enjoy ten-minute reads. Check out my short stories.