Bo Nickal
Bo Nickal

Bo Burnham
Comedy Central Records and released his debut EP, Bo Fo Sho, in 2008. His first full-length album, Bo Burnham, was released the following year. In 2010

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Bo Burnham Burnham performing in April 2012 Born Robert Pickering Burnham
(1990-08-21) August 21, 1990 (age 27)
Hamilton, Massachusetts, U.S. Occupation Years active 2006–present Website Official website Musical career Genres Comedy, satire Instruments Labels Comedy Central Records

Robert Pickering Burnham (born August 21, 1990) is an American comedian, singer-songwriter, musician, rapper, actor, director, screenwriter, and poet. He began his performance career as a YouTuber in March 2006, and his videos have been viewed over 214 million times as of December 2017.

Burnham signed a four-year record deal with Comedy Central Records and released his debut EP, Bo Fo Sho, in 2008. His first full-length album, Bo Burnham, was released the following year. In 2010, Burnham's second album was released, and Words Words Words, his first live comedy special, aired on Comedy Central. His third album and second comedy special, what., was released in 2013 on his YouTube channel and Netflix. Burnham finished first overall in voting in 2011's Comedy Central Stand-up Showdown. His third stand-up comedy special, Make Happy, was released exclusively on Netflix on June 3, 2016.

In addition to his career as a comedian, Burnham co-created and starred in the MTV television series Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous and released his first book of poetry, Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone, in 2013. His first feature film as writer and director, Eighth Grade, will be released in July 2018.


Early life

Burnham was born in Hamilton, Massachusetts, the youngest of three children of Scott Burnham, a construction company owner, and Patricia, a nurse at Burnham's school. He graduated from St. John's Preparatory School in the spring of 2008, where he was on the honor roll and involved in theatre and the campus ministry program. He was admitted to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to study Experimental Theatre, but instead deferred his admission for a year to pursue a career in comedy.

Career Burnham performing at The Improv in September 2008

In 2006, Burnham videotaped himself performing two songs and posted them on YouTube to share with his family. They became an overnight sensation when they were copied to, with traffic multiplying over 111 times.

Accompanying himself on guitar or digital piano, Burnham continued to release self-described "pubescent musical comedy" songs and videos online as his audience grew. Described in The Boston Globe as "simultaneously wholesome and disturbing, intimate in a folksy-creepy sort of way", Burnham wrote and released songs about white supremacy, Helen Keller's disabilities, homosexuality, and more. All of Burnham's home-released videos were self-recorded in and around his family's home in Hamilton, Massachusetts, most in his bedroom, and had an intentional "do-it-yourself , almost like voyeurism".

Burnham's music and performances tackle such subjects as race, gender, human sexuality, sex, and religion. Burnham describes his on-stage persona as a "more arrogant, stuck-up version himself". When speaking with The Detroit News about his rapping, he expressed his intent to honor and respect the perspective and culture of hip-hop music.

Represented by Douglas Edley, Burnham recorded a performance in London for Comedy Central's The World Stands Up in January 2008 (aired June 30, 2008), and signed a four-record deal with Comedy Central Records. Comedy Central Records released Burnham's first EP, the six-song Bo Fo Sho, as an online release-only album on June 17, 2008. Burnham's first full album, the self-titled Bo Burnham, was released on March 10, 2009.

Burnham has performed his music in the United States, including Cobb's Comedy Club, YouTube Live in San Francisco, and Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City, and internationally in London and Montreal. In August 2010, Burnham was nominated for "Best Comedy Show" at the 2010 Edinburgh Comedy Awards after his inaugural performance (of Bo Burnham: Words, Words, Words). He instead received the "Panel Prize", a £5,000 prize for "the show or act who has most captured the comedy spirit of the 2010 Fringe".

Burnham's first experience with controversy regarding his music came on March 3, 2009, when fifteen Westminster College students (members of the campus' Gay-Straight Alliance, Black Students Association, International Club, and Cultural Diversity Organization) protested his concert there that evening. Of the controversy, he said, "It's so ironic because gay bashers were the ones labeling me in high school ... I try and write satire that's well-intentioned. But those intentions have to be hidden. It can't be completely clear and that's what makes it comedy." Despite the college's admission that they had booked Burnham while ignorant of his show's material, dean of students John Comerford praised the opportunities for discourse the controversy brought the school.

On May 21, 2010, Burnham taped his first one-hour stand-up special, entitled Words Words Words, for Comedy Central from the House of Blues in Boston as part of the network's new "House of Comedy" series of stand-up specials; it aired on Comedy Central on October 16, 2010. It was released on October 18, 2010. Burnham's second special, titled what., was released on both Netflix and YouTube on December 17, 2013. Burnham's latest special, Make Happy, was produced by Netflix and released on June 3, 2016.

Tours Year Title Ref. 2009 Bo Burnham: Fake ID Tour 2010 Bo Burnham and (No) Friends 2011–2012 Bo Burnham Live 2013 Bo Burnham: what. Tour 2015–2016 Bo Burnham: Make Happy Tour Film Burnham performing at Case Western Reserve University in March 2009

While performing at the Montreal Just for Laughs festival in 2008, Burnham met with director and producer Judd Apatow. That September, Burnham negotiated with Universal Pictures to write and create the music for an Apatow-produced comedy film which he describes as the "anti-High School Musical", although Burnham insists the script is not a parody of the Disney musicals, but an attempt to emulate the high school he attended. Hoping to star in the film he was writing, Burnham told Wired magazine that he named the star "Bo" in a "not-so-subtle hint want to be in it". In a March 2009 interview with Boston's Weekly Dig, Burnham elaborated on his work with the film. When he is not performing, Burnham spends eight hours a day writing the music, and his nights writing the script, of which he has finished the first draft. Co-writing the screenplay with Burnham was his high school friend Luke Liacos. In an October 2010 interview with MTV, Burnham admitted that he did not know anything about the future of the project, and that it was all effectively up in the air as far as he knew. In May 2009, viral marketing began appearing for Funny People, in which Burnham stars in a NBC sitcom called Yo Teach! In the promo, Burnham stars opposite Jason Schwartzman, as a student in the latter's English class.

Burnham wrote and directed his first feature film, Eighth Grade, which was produced and distributed by A24 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018.


In 2010, Burnham wrote and executive produced Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous alongside Dan Lagana, Luke Liacos, and Dave Becky. The series was not picked up for a second season and officially ended on June 26, 2013.


At the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he was nominated for the main Edinburgh Comedy Award and won both the Edinburgh Comedy Awards' panel prize and the Malcolm Hardee "Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid" Award.

Discography Main article: Bo Burnham discography Title Release date Notes Label Ref. Bo Fo Sho June 17, 2008 EP album Comedy Central Records Bo Burnham March 10, 2009 Studio album Comedy Central Records Words, Words, Words October 18, 2010 Studio album Comedy Central Records what. December 17, 2013 Studio album Comedy Central Records Filmography Film Title Year Functioned as Notes Ref. Director Writer Producer Actor Role American Virgin 2009 Rudy Funny People 2009 Student Words, Words, Words 2010 Performance Himself Stand-up special Hall Pass 2011 Bartender Adventures in the Sin Bin 2012 Tony what. 2013 Performance Himself Stand-up special Make Happy 2016 Performance Himself Stand-up special The Big Sick 2017 CJ Rough Night 2017 Tobey Jerrod Carmichael: 8 2017 Stand-up special Eighth Grade 2018 Chris Rock: Tamborine 2018 Stand-up special Television Title Year Functioned as Notes Ref. Creator Writer Actor Role Comedy Central Presents 2009 Performance Himself CollegeHumor Originals 2010 Himself Funny as Hell 2011 Performance Himself Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous 2013 Zach Stone 12 episodes Parks and Recreation 2014 Chipp McCapp 1 episode Just for Laughs: All Access 2014 Performance Himself Key and Peele 2015 Lyle Kroll Show 2015 British Contestent 2 episodes We Bare Bears 2015 Andrew Bangs Comrade Detective 2017 Sergiu Bibliography References
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  56. ^ For the first sketch, see "Learning Piano to Get Laid (with Bo Burnham)". CollegeHumor. October 18, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2018.  For the second sketch, see "Hate Weird Facebook Guys (Eminem Parody)". CollegeHumor. October 19, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2018. 
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  60. ^ Key & Peele - A Cappella - Uncensored (YouTube). Comedy Central. July 24, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2018. 
  61. ^ Upadhyaya, Kayla (March 3, 2015). "Kroll Show: "The Commonwealth Games"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  62. ^ Internet Rivals - We Bare Bears (YouTube). Cartoon Network. March 24, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2018. 
  63. ^ Jillie Mae Eddy (August 25, 2017). "Amazon's Comrade Detective - Season 1, Episode 1 Recap". WICF Daily. Retrieved February 28, 2018. 
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