Young comic includes audience
September 8, 2009
Comedian Bo Burnham returned to Williamsburg, despite an unpleasant first experience. During his Saturday night performance at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall, he mentioned his seventh grade field trip to Busch Gardens. The amusement park was closed after a man hung himself from Apollo’s Chariot, a popular rollercoaster at the park.
Burnham — a 19-year-old from the Boston area — was brought to the College of William and Mary campus by AMP for his music and comedy featuring crude and unruly humor targeting homosexuals and the disabled, as well as many other taboo topics.
In the time leading up to the show, the line stretched well outside PBK and towards the Muscarelle Museum of Art. Likewise, there was a large crowd outside even after the show started, each person hoping to claim the last seat. As the crowd chatted before the show, groups of people all over the audience huddled around their iPhones and Blackberrys trying to catch the last minutes in the final quarter of the tribe’s season opener against in-state rival University of Virginia.
Armed with his Rubik’s Cube and a Red Bull energy drink, Burnham presented his lyrics in a thought-provoking and dry manner. Many of them were simple yet clever word plays or, in the case of his song “New Math,” a humorous statistic or mathematical equation.
As a recent high school graduate, many of Burnham’s raps described his high school experience, or what he wished it had been: “I wrestled one match in high school — and lost my virginity.”
Burnham embraces his awkward nature and doesn’t take himself too seriously. After tripping on the microphone stand and starting on the wrong chord in his most popular YouTube song, “I’m Bo Yo,” Burnham finished the tune by singing, “… this song is going to end really awkward.”
Burnham also took an interest in the College’s recent search for a mascot. He polled the audience for prospective mascots and received a variety of responses, including the phoenix and the asparagus. In response to a suggestion of crusty muffins as a mascot, Burnham referenced the local scene by saying, “Crusty Muffins sounds like a colonial sex move.” For those who missed this amazing show, catch Burnham live at the end of his college tour, on YouTube, iTunes, or in the movie “Funny People.”