I love, love, loved Bo Burnham’s Inside on Netflix. My full review is forthcoming on another website, so until then, please enjoy these images from one of the special’s songs, in which Burnham wonders if now is the appropriate time for him, as a white man, to tell jokes.
Who does he think he is? By this Venn diagram, he thinks he’s where Malcolm X and Weird Al Yankovic overlap!
Self-aware satire by any means necessary?
Can comedy change minds? How about compared to teachers?
Someone must have changed the labels on this graph?
What is the formula for comedy?
For those of you who desire alt text for photographs…
- Comedy = Tragedy + Time
- Time = Money
- Tragedy = 9/11
- Comedy = 9/11 + Money?
But is it funny?
OK. So this flow chart needs a definite zoom in for its close-up.
We start with the question: IS IT MEAN? If yes, NOT FUNNY. If no, though, COULD IT BE INTERPRETED AS MEAN? If no, YOU DON”T KNOW THAT —> WHAT? —> I SAID, YOU DON’T KNOW THAT —> If you reply OKAY? —> NOT FUNNY. But if you replied YOU’RE RIGHT, SORRY, then you can ask again, IS IT ACTUALLY FUNNY?
If you answered not sure to IS IT MEAN? —> DOES IT PUNCH DOWN? If yes, NOT FUNNY. If no, though, then IS IT ACTUALLY FUNNY? If you answered not sure to that, though, DOES IT TARGET THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN DISENFRANCHISED IN A HISTORICAL, POLITICAL, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC and/or PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTEXT? If yes, NOT FUNNY. If no, then back to IS IT ACTUALLY FUNNY?
Wait, what is comedy, anyhow?
Here we see four different subsystems of comedy.
For stand-up, we have orbiting circles of MIDDLE-AGED MEN PROTECTING FREE SPEECH BY HUMPING STOOLS and TELLING STORIES ABOUT EDIBLES…YOU TRIGGERED?, then there’s LEGENDS WHO HAVE DEFINITELY NOT GOTTEN WORSE, then INTERESTING VIRGINS DOING TED TALKS, then the PODCAST people, who break down into either GENIUSES or CAULIFLOWER EARS.
For social media, we see orbiting circles of FUNNY JUMPCUT MONOLOGUE OF FRONT-FACING CAMERA ENDING WITH BREAKING CHARACTER WHILE LAUGHING TO APPEAR CASUAL, or WHITE PEOPLE USING GIFs of BLACK PEOPLE WIDENING THEIR EYES, or ADULTS DOING SKITS ABOUT HOMEWORK IN ATHLEISURE WEAR, or PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSIVE PARENTS MAKING RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINES, or GIVING FATHER’S EULOGY WHILE EATING HOT PEPPERS, or SEXUALLY PRANKING UNSUSPECTING WOMEN AT PUBLIC BEACHES, or FUNNY MEMEABLE AD FOR CELEBRITY-OWNED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY, or HOT TEEN BOYS BEING GOOFBALLS.
Between social media and TV, these two systems share the orbits of YOU WOULD LOVE IT and SMUG LOOKS TO CAMERA.
For TV land, there’s two kinds of TALK SHOWS (ADULTS PLAYING TWISTER or HARVARD GRADS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER). Or you may have SUBVERSIVE CARTOONS FOR MEN IN THEIR 30s, MOCKUMENTARIES ABOUT HOW FUN IT IS TO SERVE THE STATE (shout-out to 9 SEASON LOVE LETTER TO CORPORATE LABOR!), or GROUNDBREAKING SERIES ABOUT MALE COMEDIAN IN NYC HAVING SEX (it’s SHOT IN 35MM!), or UNCANNY VALLEY SITCOM REBOOT, or MONTHLY HISTORIC NERD SHOWS.
For Movie land, there’s SEQUEL TO CLASSIC COMEDY THAT EVERYONE WATCHES AND THEN PRETENDS NEVER HAPPENED, or TWO-HOUR INDIE DRAMEDY ZERO LAUGHS, or THOR’s COMEBACKS, or PROFESSIONAL WRESTLERS BEING SCARED OF SPIDERS, or ROBERT DE NIRO LITERALLY EATING HUMAN SHIT, or IMPOSSIBLY STRAIGHTFORWARD TWO-WORD TITLES.
Is comedy an acronym?
Could Open My Eyes Don’t Y’know
I hope this answered some of your questions about comedy!
Watch all of Bo Burnham: Inside on Netflix.