Bo Burnham, Komedia, Brighton
Monday 13 June 2011
Hot on the heels of Seinfeld comes Bo Burnham, the 20-year-old American wunderkind of comedy and winner of a disputed comedy award in Edinburgh last year – disputed because some observers argued that his five-star-festooned show should have carried off the main prize and not just the sop of Spirit of the Fringe award.
This, however, was unlikely to affect a young man who has gone from YouTube hit to MTV star before he has even reached the age of 21.
Tonight's full house in Brighton were eager to see the act and left after delivering rapturous applause for what was another accomplished set, one that differed slightly in content and effect from his Edinburgh Fringe run.
Split by an interval, a custom that Burnham professed to be unaccustomed to, the Bo show still rests on stand-up and songs that play with, among other things, absurdity ("men are like muzzles/ they try to shut you up/ women are like puzzles/ cause prior to 1920 neither had the right to vote") political correctness ("I love all gay people, even the murderers") and his place in the industry ("I want to do panel shows where I make fun of young celebrities for money").
The shorter musical refrains and quick-fire gags create a dizzying mêlée. The world that is conjured up is sufficiently disorientating that Burnham's mock-petulant displays of adolescent nihilistic angst – neurotic asides and inner voices – seems a perfectly understandable reaction.
Less vulnerable than in his previous outing, there is a sense that the elements of his show have been ordered to keep a metronomic pace going rather than to heighten than the sense of sketchbook wonder of his Fringe show. Some of Burnham's song renditions grind out their dazzling "wiki-leap" lyrics (rebounding as they do from topic to topic) rather than proclaiming their brilliance.
"I'm trying to pursue the humanity of what can seem like a cold, postmodern world," he said in an interview last week. Did it work? Well, kinda. It was certainly pretty cool to watch him try.
Touring to 18 June (www.boburnhamcom)
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