Bo hates catchy choruses and he’s a hungry, hungry hypocrite. So says comedy/rapping sensation Bo Burnham in his newest song “Words, Words, Words.”
This new song is the centerpiece of Bo Burnham’s similarly titled Comedy Central special which premiered Oct. 16. This is Burnham’s first headlining comedy special.
“For this show, I got to talk to directors, choose the set, and I had more control over the presentation,” Burnham said in an interview with The Eagle. “I’m really excited but it’s really intimidating.”
In 2006, Burnham started posting videos of himself playing his original songs on YouTube. Burnham’s overnight success eventually garnered the attention of Comedy Central, which landed him a recording contract and helped launch his career. Today his career has exploded. Burnham has an upcoming October tour, a possible movie collaboration with Judd Apatow, and more than 60,000,000 views on his YouTube channel.
Having made such an unusual and quick ascension to success, Burnham has received some criticism. Some came from a few traditional stand-up comics, who claimed that he achieved his fame illegitimately.
“That [reaction]’s fair because it’s kind of the end of that world, and comics are kind of panicking,” Burnham said. “They’re not so much worried about my success rather than the fact that I haven’t put in the hours and the grime. I became famous relatively overnight. I am conscious of that, and I’m working hard now.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Burnham also addressed possible criticisms from his fans in his new music video for “Words, Words, Words” in which he pokes fun at himself “selling out.”
“I’m not worried about selling out. I think that selling out is doing something for money rather than doing something you enjoy,” Burnham said. “The worse thing I could do is go back to making videos in my bedroom for 16-year-old kids.”
Much as any other artist or musician, Burnham wants to mature beyond the image he has made for himself. He describes different stage “personas” or characters he adopts as he performs and sings his songs.
Born in 1990, Burnham says he has time to grow and change.
“I would be fake if I’m trying to adopt a persona I don’t relate to anymore,” Burnham said. “I definitely want to change personas. That’s the benefit of being so young: I haven’t found my voice yet and can experiment.”
The first step towards this artistic maturation is in Bo’s new album “Words, Words, Words” which was released Oct. 19 and contains two new studio tracks apart from those recorded at the live comedy special.
“A lot of people who liked me as a young kid singing dirty songs may be disappointed,” Burnham said. “This album’s definitely offensive, but it’s well-crafted.”
However which way Burnham changes his music or his image, at least he has his priorities set.
“I’m a comedian first, and a musician fifth. I just kind of got sucked into the whole musical comedian thing.”
As for the future, Burnham is less sure in which direction he wants to go. “I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t see comedy as a stepping stone, I’m just trying to do what I like, and right now I like comedy.”
Burnham has several possible career paths that he has already dabbled in. He is writing a script for a possible Judd Apatow movie, which he describes as his first collaborative experience in a long time. He also appeared briefly in the movie “Funny People.”
“It’d be cool to be in a movie, or to write,” he said. “Right now I just feel very lucky, that if I write the best material, I’d have the best shot at whatever.”