Inside: Bringing Comedy to Struggle

“Inside” by Bo Burnham sheds light on mental illness in a creative, relatable way


Photo illustration by L. Chandler

“All Eyes on Me,” a song from Inside, doesn’t hold back on lighting and lyrics and reflects Burnham’s disturbed mindset when filming.

Leah Chandler, Variety Editor

While many are scared to admit it, during quarantine, battling mental illness became a more common occurrence. Bo Burnham, a comedian who stopped performing five years prior to COVID-19, illustrated his battles through a Netflix special he produced by himself during the pandemic. Burnham is known for making funny songs which portray ribald concepts often not easily spoken about by the public. Burnham’s “Inside” shows the progression of his mental state throughout the year through the usage of songs and comedy sketches. The performances throughout Burnham’s special contrast in style and humor, making at least one sketch relatable to any viewer. 

Some of the songs, such as “How the World Works” use a happy, upbeat sound to describe the utter chaos of the world around him with a sock puppet to go along with the cheery tune. Other songs such as “All Eyes on Me” and “That Funny Feeling” are darker and don’t hide the horrors he, as well as many fans, faced during lockdown. 

 “Inside” doesn’t mask the reality of mental illness and shows all viewers that they are not alone, and they too can survive. Though depression and anxiety can be difficult to discuss or cope with, Burnham makes them seem more understandable through his various songs and skits helping viewers understand the importance of mental illness awareness.