Let’s all agree right now that asking someone what they “got done” in 2020 is a dick move worthy of public shame. Over a year ago, we all went to sleep and the sun rose on a world much worse than the one we’d known the day before, so glibly asking what someone did after that is not really a small talk kind of question. Bo Burnham did something in quarantine, though, and he wants us to watch it. Or maybe he doesn’t. Either way, his new Netflix special Bo Burnham: Inside is an amazing argument for why asking that question is loaded at best and emotionally horrifying at worst.
This special, written, filmed, and edited by Burnham over the course of 2020, takes place almost entirely in one room of his guest house, but the constantly transforming and claustrophobic space Burnham uses to stage his sketches isn’t only what the title means by “inside.” Bo Burnham: Inside is a devastating portrait of the actor-director-singer-comedian’s dysfunctional interiority and 2020’s unyielding assault on mental and social health. What begins as a project to pass the hours in a year when many people were forcibly gifted a lot of alone time transforms over the hour into an upsetting (in a good way?) musical recap of shared psychic trauma.