Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bo Burnham's Words Words Words, taped at the House of Blues, debuts tonight

Bo Burnham's Words Words Words
tonight on Comedy Central
Those who saw Bo Burnham tape his new comedy special, Words Words Words, at the House of Blues in May got a glimpse of a comedian taking a couple of steps forward. The special airs tonight at 11PM on Comedy Central. And that will show part of the story, but not all of it.
Burnham was already a YouTube sensation when he recorded his first “Comedy Central Presents” at age 18. He was clever, a little blue, and had a dorky white boy trying to be hip appeal. His story has been told frequently since then – the Hamilton native who made videos in his bedroom that led to a hit album, working with Judd Apatow, and a mountain of accolades and exposure.

So it’s a relief to see his wordplay is getting smarter, his premises are getting more inventive, and to see that he is completely aware of how ridiculous his sudden fame is. All of that is in the material on tonight’s special. Burnham has a tour and an MTV show coming up, so I’ll save some of the more specific ideas for then, but I was impressed with what I saw, and I’m hoping that translates on tonight’s show.

Don’t get me wrong, Burnham hasn’t ditched the silly, scatological stuff that caught people’s attention in the first place. But you can see him turning that over a bit, trying to add something to his repertoire, whether it’s Shakespeare references or parodying stand-up itself.

The thing you probably will never see are all the retakes Burnham had to do after going through the whole show, how he seemed genuinely sorry addressing the crowd and asking for their patience. He did throw a couple of jabs at the Comedy Central crew for having to repeat a few things, but he did a good ob keeping the audience involved, which is important if you want them to look alive while you tape something to punch into the rest of the show.

Words Words Words is also out on CD October 19.

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