Bo Burnham

June 21, 2016

Hello! I'm comedian Bo Burnham. My new special, 'Make Happy', is out on Netflix. AMA.

Hello there! Thanks for having me. I'm a comedian. I just released a new special here.


edit: Thank you for all the lovely questions! It was great talking with you guys. Have a good summer!

Bo, oh my god. Where is the Make Happy album?

Not coming for a while (or maybe at all). There's a bunch of weird legal stuff in the way of making it, which I don't totally mind because I think the show should be watched and heard together. But there's a bunch of audio rips out there that you can download if you want to. Sorry!

Bo, there seem to be a lot of speculation that Make Happy (especially the ending) hinted that you're potentially putting stand-up to bed for a while. Is there any truth to this speculation?

Definitely going to take some time off for a while. I'm a little tired of myself and I'd love to write things for other people. The sort of "goodbye" ending of the special has much heavier reasons for wanting to leave which are a portion of but not the whole reason.

Can we know what this deeper meaning is?

I don't know, CAN YOU?

Just like your last special, "what", you had a joke just for the Netflix live version. What did you tell the audience during you taking the sweater off?

I did that part during the encore of the second show when everything was done. I just told them I was gonna fuck around and try something and this won't make sense but it'll take 10 seconds. I've been surprised how few people have noticed the continuity error though. The editor didn't notice it and he watched it 50 times.

Are you happy?


Are you legitimately upset about not being able to fit your hand into a Pringle can?

You know a lot of bullshit pringles apologists have been coming out of the woodwork sending me shit like this. A folded piece of computer paper? Are these people out of their fucking minds?

Lol, computer paper. <3

oh god am i old or something?

Much like good wine, you're overpriced, bottled, and frequently spit out by the French. j/k they swallow


Which of all your songs is closest to your heart?

Also love your stuff man. Didn't expect to get emotional during make happy but yeah it was fantastic

The Kanye bit at the end of this last special is the one I think I’m happiest with. There’s no need to go into specifics, but after my last special ‘what.’, I started to have panic attacks while on stage, and it made performing really stressful and terrifying for a little while. And so I wanted to try to find a way to talk about that. It’s the bit I’m most proud of because it came from something I was pretty ashamed of and didn’t even really want to admit to myself. And performing it actually made me feel less anxious because now my anxiety was part of the show. Rather than being this anvil hanging over my head on stage that could drop at any moment, this thing I had to just ignore and power through, it became part of the story. Once I gave it a purpose it receded a bit. A bit.

You're so Brave™, Bo. I'm glad you finally let us hear you Roar™.

Welcome to my hell.

You said in your last Netflix special that it was insanely difficult to put that act together, but people like Louis CK do it on a much more consistent basis and that is insane to you.

My question is, how did you handle your newest special in terms of breaking it up so that the material felt fresh while not burning yourself out?

I loved Make Happy. It was absolute genius in my opinion, thank you for all you do to make people laugh!

Thanks for the kind words! In making this show, I hired some actual tech guys for this first time -- Joe Werner for sound and Chris Galante for lighting. And we basically toured with the exact same production that's in the special. So being able to work and collaborate with them on the road kept things really fresh for me. After every show we'd talk about what cues worked and what didn't - so the tech of the show was able to workshopped just like the material was workshopped. I don't know if this is specifically answering your question or not, but they were great and crucial to the show and kept the material fresh and exciting far longer for me than if I had done it myself.

The lighting and camera angles during the Kanye song were crazy good. I still can't stop thinking about how cinematic your special was.

Thanks dude. Credit for that also has to go to Andrew Wehde, the DP, and Chris Storer, the co-director.

Do you consciously try to evolve with each progressive special or do you think that each is just a reflection of who you are at the time of recording?

Great question! I think it's much more a reflection of me at the time. My three specials happened when I was 19, 22 and 25 - and I think that's a time when everyone is sort of figuring out what they think about things and changing their minds every six months. So I try to just embrace that.

I really love this acknowledgement because every time you release something I'm a little bit different and older and (maybe) wiser. I'm really keen on your content because I feel like I've done so much growing up with it, as cliche as that sounds. I like that this art or comedy, or whatever the fuck it'll be, is constantly evolving with you and us even though we are consistently separate.

thanks dude. Yeah I'd like to think there are people who are cringing at my older stuff like I am but can like the stuff I do now. And we can all cringe at this stuff later when we're older and wiser.

I caught the celeri but dropped the beet

Musical genius right there already, don't worry


What are some of your favorite creators/creative products from this year? Comedy, Movies, Music, Books, Articles, Websites whatever.

Really, really love the new Radiohead album. This movie The Lobster. A great book by Douglas Rushkoff called Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (Douglas Rushkoff is so brilliant I feel like reddit would love him and yet I never see his stuff posted here). Thought Louis' Horace and Pete was a pretty special thing. What about you?

Make Happy has been my recommendation of choice for the last several weeks. Beyond that I really liked Ali Wong's Netflix special, David Bazan's new Album Blanco, The majority of the stuff coming out of Slate and The Ringer. Oh and WNYC's "On the Media" is on a tear right now. Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone are killing it.

Sweet. I'll check out that David Bazan album. Never heard of him but the previews sounded killer.

If you liked the Lobster, you should watch Alps and Dogtooth. They're greek films by the same director that both have a SUPER dark weird sense of humour.

Also, A Moon Shaped Pool is amazinggggggggg

Love both of those. Yorgos is the best.

How does it feel knowing that most people can see up your nostrils?

Horrifying. I have a deviated septum and it is on full display and I would like to drink bleach please.

How hard is it making and finding friends and girlfriends because of your stage persona? How do they react to you out of character?

It's hard making girlfriends because of my current girlfriend. But making friends, no. I have a small group of friends that I've known for a long time (before all this started). And most of my friends I think are more surprised by me "in character" than "out of". I'm not like I am on stage in real life. I hope to god I'm not that'd be awful.

what have you been doing with yourself post make happy?

Hanging with my dumb dog and trying to get this weird little movie made maybe. I've also started exercising in an attempt to finally become a man!

Do you think you might ever write something like Zach Stone again? It was brilliant and I believe if it had been broadcast on a different channel it would never have been cancelled.

Thanks, that's very sweet. Yeah, I'd love to if the right idea comes along. I had a blast making Zach Stone. And MTV sexualizes children! What? Who said that?

You stated you wanted to start writing material for people other than yourself (IE other people who sing better than you) -- do you have an ideal medium preference for that? Standup? TV? Movie?

(Also-- I was Ian's assistant who helped record Words Words Words at Caroline's! Hey!)

Hey man! It's been 6 years, hope you're well. I'd love to write a musical. It'd be so great to be able to write songs from people who are built to perform. I have to write songs for my limited range and lung capacity. I'd also love to write a song for demi lovato or something. All the top 40 songs have such awful lyrics for no reason. It'd be nice to have some cool/weird ones that are phrased well.

How much did your role in Parks and Rec as Chipp McCapp influence the pandering country song in Make Happy?

The whole reason I wrote the song was because I had so much fun doing a stupid country voice on Parks. And I felt like I had a different enough angle on skewering country that Mike Schur wouldn't sue me. And looking good so far!

What's the mark on your face from?

From birth. The first thing you're supposed to see when a baby comes out is the top of its head. I came out FACE FIRST. That is a scar from my mother's pelvic bone smacking me in the face. Need any more deets about my mom's pussy?

Who are your favourite pianists?

Oh god I'm a hack I have no idea. Schroeder?

What's the most ridiculously over-offended response you've ever had to a joke/song?

I don't know, you know I feel like people, for the most part, have a good sense of humor. Comedians bitch a lot about everyone being so PC and not being able to take a joke but it's like we get up on stage and talk for an hour non-stop. Once in a while people say some shit back. It's all good with me. Except when asians do it.


300 you say?

Are you going to be writing another book?

I'd love to, yeah! I'm paranoid about being another piece of shit pseudo-celebrity killing the book industry and taking up the shelf space of writers who've worked their entire lives to write books. Sorry passionate, hard-working people!

What the heck is this?

what the fuck? oh god. that's definitely not happening.

I have looked up to you for years and I love performing and everything that comes with it. What is some advice you can give for young performers to get themselves out there?

You know I sort of fell into an audience at a young age because I went #VIRAL so any advice I’d give on starting out building a career would be silly as I got very lucky very early. But I do think there’s a lot working against young people who are wanting to make things right now, and they are things I’ve struggled with and continue to struggle with and I don’t feel are talked about enough. Everyone talks about how great these new internet distribution models are—and they are, they’re more democratic and from the bottom and up and they allow people to be in control of how they share their work with others—but I also think they create really toxic impulses. Brand-building, self-promotion. These are fine things to do once you’ve actually worked hard enough to get good enough where you can make something worthy of being shared. But it should never be a starting point. The first step when starting out should always be to get as good as you possibly can at the thing you’re doing. Learn a ton, try different things, challenge yourself, fuck up, learn more. And I’m not saying this to say “fuck success, do the work”—I really do believe that good work is the best promotion—that if you want to have your thing seen by a lot of people, the best chance you have is to make it as good as possible. In getting an audience early, I realized how incredibly fluky and volatile people’s attention was. And that trying to control it directly was impossible. The only thing I ever have had control of was the actual work. And for me, the corny truth at the center of it is that you should try to follow your impulse to GIVE something to people, not the impulse to get something from them. I try to tell myself to just shut the fuck up and work hard on something that I think is good and important and make it as good as I can and when I’m done with it, share it. Self-promotion should be the last step, not the first. But also I got super lucky and didn’t have to promote myself so I’m a bit of a privileged hypocrite – but like that self-branding shit is pretty gross and I just think like makes you feel icky and unsatisfied and I don’t think leads to happiness even when it works. But making things is fun. So make stuff! Hope that made any sense.

why did you take a dark approach at the end of Make Happy?

I weirdly thought I was making a happy ending. I wasn't trying to be dark or heavy, I was just trying to speak honestly about what I was feeling. And it's not that everything up until that point was a lie and now I'm showing you the darkness of my soul - I just wanted to fill the thing out emotionally. Cause everyone I think feels happy and sad and bored and anxious and I wanted to try to make the show feel that way.

Who is your girlfriend?


Nunya who's that?


For those of us who have watched Make Happy a few hundred times already, and have seen all your other stuff, can you toss up the names of a some comedians that you think are great that we don't know about?

Sam Simmons, Hans Teeuwen, Stewart Lee, Tim Minchin, Bill Bailey, Kate Berlant, Jerrod Carmichael.

Hey Bo, I met a girl at a bar in NYC who said she gave you a bj in high school because she knew you were going to be famous. Thought you'd get a kick out of that. How was it?


Bo, what's a good song you'd recommend? I need something new to listen to.


Hey Bo,

Saw you in Toronto and you told the audience to collectively crack their knuckles.

Did you do that for the show in New York? Why was it cut?

Hope you're happy. You're very intelligent and hilarious.

That was something I actually saw done in a video posted here. So I didn't really come up with it so I wouldn't want to put it in the special. But it was fun to do every night.

Hey Bo! Thanks for doing this AMA! You've said you like to keep a big difference between your real self and your 'on-stage' persona, but do you feel you sort of combined the two near the end of Make Happy?

Yeah, I think so, in a way. I mean it's still a very exaggerated, very concentrated, very dramatized version of a real emotion. I think people tend to latch on to the "serious" stuff as more "truthful," but it's all the same sort of weird version of honesty for me. I don't know, it's tough to explain and I don't really have a good answer for it. A lot of it was just about what felt right more than, okay, now I'm gonna hit em with the fucking TRUTH.

Are you still wrestling with the possibility of pursuing a degree, or is that in the past now?

I'd love to take some classes. I wouldn't know what to do with a degree but I have plenty of things I'd like to learn more about.

is the kanye rant as deep as i perceive it to be?


Bo, when is the worst time you have had to kick someone out of a show? I was at the Baltimore show in November when you had to have that guy removed.

Thanks for being super entertaining and stuff.

There was a drunk guy that wondered on stage in atlanta and sat at my keyboard. That was strange. I think I told him to kill himself or something, not my finest hour. And appreciate the kind words dude!

Video if anyone's curious. Not his finest moment, but still the heckler's fault. I remember when this was posted people were shitting on Bo, making it clear they've never been to a comedy show.

Also like, I wasn't totally "safe." I was most concerned with just getting the guy out of there, more than doing some sort of subtle take down of him.

Would you ever collaborate with Tim Minchin? If so, any ideas?

I'm friends with Tim and we've talked about it. If there's something that works for both of us we'd love to. He's scary good.

Hey Bo, I went to college with a kid from Hamilton who says that when you were in elementary school together, you stabbed him with a pencil, leaving some graphite that is still there to this day. I always thought he was full of shit. Are you, or are you not, the pencil stabbing comedian?

Edit for some exposure: Here's the Bo Burnham subreddit: /r/boburnham

hahaha! If the person you're talking to is named Jon, then he stabbed HIMSELF with that pencil. I was sick that day and it was tied to his desk because he was always losing his pencils and one day he knocked it off the desk and it stuck into his leg. No joke.

Bo, I'm the same age as you and i've been watching your work since high school when you were a brand new Youtube sensation.

Every special you put out seems to resonate very strongly with me and where I have been mentally throughout the years, and Make Happy was no exception.

There's a bit in the new special about you simply being an overpaid service industry professional, and I've also heard you say similar remarks in interviews. I think that is ludicrous. Your show is so much more than simply a "comedy special" - you blend comedy with real, raw emotions (whether staged or genuine) and speaks to people in a much stronger way than a "typical" comedian does.

As someone who has personally gone through depression, I cried at the end of your new special. I replayed that last bit literally 8-10 times that day. There's not a lot of entertainers, in any industry, that can connect on such a direct, pure emotional level with people in that way.

I hope that, whatever work you do in the future, you continue to be yourself and produce the content that you think you should produce. I don't know Bo (ha) but (based on the service-industry comment) I feel like you do not give yourself enough credit for the voice you have and the real connection you have to your audience.

Do you have any ideas or plans on where or what you want to do next?

Thank you, this is very thoughtful and kind. I'm sorry to hear you've struggled with depression, I never have, and wouldn't claim to, but I've had people in my life who have and I've dealt with separate feelings of anxiety. The truth is, about the "service industry" comment, is I don't see that as a slam. Or a downplay. I think it's a wonderful thing to be of service to other people. And entertainers should try to see themselves as in the service industry. We're hear to give people something. That's a good thing I think. And who knows what's next! Just sort of cooling off from this. Thanks again for the thoughtful comment. Very appreciated.

Hi Bo! Can you tell us what is the hardest thing about being you? I'm sure you have so many pressures to just perform, but what else in your real life do you struggle with? (Btw, I have been watching you since the you tube days, you have definitely made a great difference for me on my bad days. Always know you have been a positive influence on a lot of people I'm sure)

Oh boy! Very cool, low key questions. I think it's probably similar to what other people struggle with -- trying to be present and kind and not angry at everything all the time and be a little more patient? I don't know, I think the internet is killing us. I pee sitting down now so I can look at my phone. Please send help.

What is the worst thing that an audience member has done during a show?

Shot everybody. At my show? I don't know, texted?

As you stated in your special, you like artists like Kendrick Lamar. Which is your favorite song of his?

Probably "Thong Song."

I really enjoyed the NPR segment on your mother and her important work. Was there ever a time you considered going into medicine?

No, I don't have the strength for that stuff. But I'm so glad you liked that segment, my mother is a very special person!

My favorite thing I learned about you after watching your shows is that your relationship with your parents is actually really good. I'm glad that is the case.

oh yeah, totally. The "dad" in my special is more the idea of fathers than my actual father.

oh yeah, totally. The "dad" in my special is more the idea of fathers than my actual father.

Jesus Christ that was one was a little pretentious.

Are STAX cans any easier to fit your hands into?

I'm too intimidated by the very cool, hip spelling of stax to even approach them.

if you could throw cold spaghetti at anyone in the world, dead or alive, without any repercussions, who would you throw it at?


Any chance of seeing more of Zach Stone in the future?

Maybe! Who knows. I always thought he'd be a fun person to check in on 10 years later and see what he's like.

Bo, will you be performing the show in England at any time? Or doing shows of any kind or over here?

Nothing in the near future. Scheduling stuff didn't work out so I wasn't able to perform Make Happy over there which really bummed me out. But I don't mind that people get to see the special completely fresh. That's a plus.

You were one of the first comedians I really began to follow, and I remember distinctly assuming that every comedian was both funny, and poignant; that every comedian would have an "Art is Dead", or "Are You Happy". Was it always your intention to create comedy that had an ulterior motive, so to speak, or was it just part of the process that organically led to content like that?

I think a lot of comedians have vulnerable or slightly more serious moments. I just think because my stuff is musical and theatrical it tends to announce it's seriousness a little more obviously when it goes there. But I don't know how it really started. I tried it out a little at first and the audience seemed to dig it so I just kept pursuing it.

Bo, are you taking a break because of the hecklers? If its because of the hecklers, I would gladly offer my drop kicking services to you at a fan discount of 1c per heckler.

No, not at all. It's just wanting to try something different for a while. Please do not assault people.

What do you think might have happened in Zach Stone had it not been canceled?

We probably would've got another season.

Can you give us your take on the meaning of Make Happy's ending?


Hey Bo! You've mentioned your high school theatre experience several times within interviews. What was the one important thing you took away from it?

That the best thing you can do on stage is take a risk.

What did you learn form What. that you applied to Make Happy? I noticed a lot of similarities, but wanted to know from your perspective what new things did you try.

With 'what.' I felt like I was sort of experimenting with these new tech elements - lighting, sound, staging. But it was all sort of added AFTER THE FACT. After the show had been written. And with MH I tried to plan the tech as I was writing the material, and let the tech evolve and change as the material was refined. So, for me, it feels like 'what.' was laying messily pouring concrete that would eventually harden and have this new show built on. I'll take awful fucking metaphors for 600 alex.

Hi Bo! Why do you say "sorry" so many times in Make Happy? It's an alarming amount haha. Is it a subconscious thing? Also what's your favorite Kanye song?

hahaha I think 'sorry' is probably a good subtitle for the show. And I'm all about waves right now.

Hey Bo! Obviously there are things that you've gotten better at throughout your career. Is there anything you look back at and wish you were still as good at?

hmmm. I don't know. I don't rap anymore but I don't think it's cause I'm not as good at it, it just sort of started to feel lame and done and leave that artform alone you white fuck. Maybe be better at having a young diiiiiick.

What do you think of lil Dicky?

Incredibly talented.

Did you ever feel constrained writing content for "Make Happy"? With it being a shorter show that "what.", did you feel like you had to cut good bits down, or take out things you felt like wouldn't be appreciated as much?

No, I never felt constrained by time. The stage show of MH is a bit shorter than 'what.' - but I wanted to try to make "off stage bits" part of the show in this special. I liked the idea of the taking the typical stand up intro and outro to specials that are usually superfluous and stupid and making them as much a part of the show as the stage stuff.

Did you give Bruce the dog cookie I gave you in Birmingham?

yes, he's dead now bitch.

Are you really retiring?


Do you ever meet your fans after shows?

I used to but this last tour I was doing 6 shows a week and basically couldn't speak while off stage so I could save my voice. Also when I meet a lot of people, my nose starts to itch from the germs and then everyone thinks I'm on cocaine.

Any chance of people ever seeing a film directed by yourself? Also any more ideas for books and things a like?

Would love to. Trying to make a small movie with that happening.

Do you think it's important for someone to have seen Kanye's Yeezus tour in order to fully appreciate the ending of your special?

I don't think it's necessary, but I hopefully people that saw the tour realize that the bit is more of a love letter to him than a critique. For me, Kanye is a completely coherent version of a famous person. Of course a super famous person should be insane. It's the normal, smiley ones that I think are fucking psychos.

What was your favorite joke from Make Happy?

I like the salt and vinegar one.

If you could only age from the neck up or from the neck down for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?

Neck OUT.

Hi, Bo. My name is Ryanne. I think I'm happy. Thank you for what you create.

Why do you think people heckle at shows?

Thank you! A lot of my heckles are weirdly positive. Like a lot of "woos" and shit. I think it's tough because my show will get very loud for a bit and feel like a concert, and at a concert you can hell as much as you want -- but then the show will get very quiet and people get confused and don't know what to do. I don't mind it. It's all energy.

can you remember lyrics from your oldest songs? Like be able to sing/rap them? For example, Hell of a ride

No chance.

Did your dad like your new special?

Too much. He needs to chill.

Do you have an inny or outy belly button?

Do people actually have outies?

Bo, do you remember being kicked off stage at the Hamilton-Wenham Community Center during your first performance? My band opened for you that night. So, that was pretty great.

hahaha! yes! The woman in the blue dress did it!

If you could destroy anything with a baseball bat, what would it be?

A baseball! Home run!!!

I'm like 99% sure that the woman was his girlfriend and she was holding his dog, Bruce.

And I am the 1%

I love you, no homo.

On another note, would you let me suck your dick?

But wait, you said, wait, hold on, wait.

Do you hate yourself for both complaining that culture is dead and retweeting Amy Shumer?


I feel like people keep shouting things out at you during your specials after all these years. What do you think motivates them to keep doing it?

The same thing that motivates me to get up there. LOOK AT ME. I can't blame them.

My friend and I have difference of opinion about your new special. See we aren't huge fans of SJWs or "cucks" but i maintain your new special champions white guilt and pseudo-intellectualism while he believes you had one SJW song but the rest of the performance was void of regressive left ideology. What do you have to say on the matter? Feel free to respond with a joke to be dismissive.

edit: I also used these tweets to cite your white guilt.


What happened to the guitar? There was a time many years ago when MOST of your songs on YouTube were played on guitar. You kept it for a couple songs in Words Words Words, but why did you lose it entirely for what. and Make Happy?

Cause I truly suck at playing guitar. I have soft finger tips.

Bo, how painful was it to self promote on this website? Does it feel dirty to buy into this capitalist hegemony?

PS: Your comedy makes me laugh, and makes me think about stuff, so thanks.

Nah it's all good. This is nice because I get to talk directly with people and it's just me on my computer typing to people on their computers. All fun. Now my big Carl's Jr campaign coming up is a different story.

Do you feel like Make Happy got the response you were hoping for? Or do you think it may have been misconstrued in some way?

I've been extremely happy with how it's been received. People are taking it much heavier and more dramatic than I anticipated but that's fine. It's okay to feel things I think!

Hey Bo, a lot of my friends go to the Prep (I went to another school down the street) and you're basically an urban legend around there. Did your experience, or lack thereof, at SJP have any influence on your comedic style?

That school taught me how to keep my head down and work hard and that has been very, very helpful. And so many amazing teachers.

Will you ever go back and do Pete Holmes podcast again?

I hope to! Pete's shooting his HBO show now but hopefully when he's done. Pete's the greatest.

Bo! Do you ever regret not attending H*rvard?


Are you gay?


If you were happy in a relationship, But the relationship was preventing you from creating new content, Would you end it to try and regain the ability to create or would you rather just stay in the happy relationship where you can not make content?

Oh god why would that happen?

Hey Bo, my girlfriend and I saw you perform in Baltimore. If you recall, some douche canoe named Conor kept continuously interrupting you throughout the show until you finally called him out, had them turn the lights on so that everyone could watch him walk from the front seats all of the way out of the theatre. My question to you is, do you have reactions like that semi prepared beforehand, or do you just react?

That was a unique one. I very rarely have to actually kick someone out. There's a few prepared lines sometimes but I like trying to improv off stuff. It helps to keep the show fresh.

Bo, have any country singers said anything to you after your song making fun of country music?

No but the songs been posted favorably on a few country music sites. I think I'm trying to stick up for good country music in that song. And I think a lot of country music fans are sick of pop/bro country.

Probably too late to the party, but just in case, what is the dumbest joke you had made for one of your specials only to cut it out after realizing it wasn't as funny as you thought it was?

I tend to want to keep the dumber stuff. My favorite jokes are the stupid ones.

Do you miss Hamilton Wenham and all its glory?


In 15 words or less, can you convince me that you're a funny guy?


Why do you care what people have to say?

fuck you

How did your life as a teenager affect your career as an entertainer?

all these PUBES

What's your stance on straight marriage?

It's gay.

1700 questions is a lot of questions! Here's a generic one, what kind of music do you listen to?



I was just taking about your special today with some folks. I loved it. I found it thought-provoking, funny, and dare-I-say, seemingly genuine(?).

Anyway, I loved it.

Um, a question- How are you doing?

Thank you! I'm fine!

Bo do you eat ass?

You bet your sweet ass I do.

So my one claim to fame is when I fixed your iPhone when you were in Richmond, VA. Thank you. Although I ment to ask what were you doing even doing there?

ha! I remember you, thank you. I was in town for a college show. And thanks for telling me where the 7-eleven was.

How does your girlfriend handle your fame? It must be a little unnerving to know that probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other girls want you.

Also, has your fame reached the point where people are constantly bugging you in public? As much as I would love to shake the hands of some celebrities if I saw them, I know I would feel bad because they have to deal with that constantly.

It's not really a problem. This isn't being fake humble: I'm really not that famous at all. I think I'm known to a small core of people, which is cool, but my day-to-day life isn't really affected. A few people might come up to me once in a while, but it's not like I can't be in public.

Mr. Burnham, you're an inspiration and a breath of fresh air in this smoggy, aimless cultural cesspool of individualism (U! S! A!). I find myself struggling not to drown on the daily. There's SO MANY questions I want to ask you but, more than any of them, I just want to thank you for giving us such a beautiful gift. Make Happy seemed to me like a kind and honest love letter to performers, both the ones in the seats and the ones on the hot 100. Your voice, for me, contains this beautifully honest paradox of love and frustration that reverberates within my very core. We are amazing and infinite and full of light, and yet at the same time we are so burdened with heavy coats, needle scars, and a loss of connection, of community, of being. I am far from my goals, but I hope to one day to speak up, to let my inner child play and enjoy himself, and do my part to give back, as you seem to have done and continue to do. Thank you!

My question: do your shows, particularly what., have an intentionally subtle narrative structure of any kind? I notice certain pieces or jokes seemed to really work well in a specific order. Like, after an insightful piece, we get a self conscious song about being too deep. Or, something a little too indulgent (shame sacrificed for emotion) is followed by a segment on masturbation (a symbol for solo performance?). I was just curious if there was any conscious intention regarding the order with regards to a deeper, subtler narrative?

Thanks again!

Thanks for the kind words man, really means a lot. There's definitely an intention in the order, just in controlling pace and tone. And there might be some little subtextual narrative stuff happening -- but I think if it's done correctly, those connections should be made by the audience not me. So I love what you took from it. I just want to set things in such a way where the audience can take away things like that and make their own connections. Hope that answers.

Also Jesus is this your 5th account? did you really forget the password to the last one again?

Yes, I'm sorry.

Would you ever get a tattoo? What would you get?

I think tattoos are really cool but I am a poor canvas.

Bo, random question, but is your line in the song "break up song" where you say "get me wetter, then screw" a double entendre referring to the PCP found in Robert Davis' body during the tox screening? If yes, let's get married.


You mentioned in an interview that you took the Kill Yourself bit out of your college shows due to the growing problem of suicide among college students and it being a poor market for the bit. Was there any internal debate on whether you wanted to remove it from Make Happy?

No because I always knew the song wasn't going after suicidal people - but that in college campuses, live, the subtext got drowned out by me just saying KILL YOURSELF over and over again. But I thought in the context of a special it would communicate clearer. I'm not offended if people are offended by it.

Hey, Bo.

Are you okay?

Oh yeah, dude, all good I'm just joshing.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring 1 thing with you, what would it be?


what was your favourite song in the show?

I like the piano part of straight white man.

what is your all time favorite heckler story, bo?

one show, no one heckled.

How much symbolism do you place in your shows? Are people looking too much into it?

I think it's great people are looking into it. I love that people participate in giving it meaning.

Do you really have such a big grudge against your father?

no he's a good dumb idiot.

What was it like for you writing the Kanye West bit?

Mostly just fun. I recommend that everyone get those tc helicon pedals. They are very fun and cheap. Writing the bit was mostly just me playing the instrumental for Runaway on a loop and saying nonsense.

Why Netflix?

TNT passed.

Are there any comedians that youve seen recently and thought "theyre going to be huge soon"?

Jerrod Carmichael will rule the world one day.

Do you seriously prefer chicken (or pork) burritos over steak? Follow up question: who hurt you?

No I do steak bowls actually, no burritos. I'm a fraud.

who is your favorite band of all time?

The Beatles. It's just the truth.

Are you more proud of "Make Happy" then you were other specials and material? I love everything you've done by the way; your honesty, acute sense of reality, and humility mixed with the perfect amount of comedy amazes me everyday. Thank you!

I think so, yeah. I feel like I finally sort of said the thing I've been circling around for a while. And thank you for the kind words!

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Bo Burnham conducted on Reddit on 2016-06-21. The Reddit AMA can be found here.