I am not an authority on musical comedy so I could be wrong, but for better and for worse there is something oddly (blue) Tom Lehrer about Bo Burnham. The eponymous Bo Burnham is one of those Comedy Central stand-up comedy CD / DVD sets I especially enjoy. If you like singing comedians, this release will probably please. You certainly get a good bang for your buck.

The Tom Lehrer connection is not only because of the New Math song title. There is something sharp and really smart about Bo Burnham’s musical comedy though he is a much more adult language and topic comic. Burnham is also talented enough to entertain this non fan of music supported comedy. Even the slam poetry piece bo fo sho is entertaining.

Another Tom Lehrer connection, the later Lehrer this time, is many of Bo Burnham’s tunes are very similar.

Not every funny song here features great music. My whole family … is a good example of that. The bit still works because Burnham manages to keep you interested and smiling by messing around with your expectations a bit: “My whole family thinks I’m gay. Maybe it’s because of the way that I walk / makes them think I like … boys”

On this musical stand-up comedy CD Burnham plays piano and guitar. Sometimes to good effect. A really good bit is The Perfect Woman, a love song for Helen Keller (“She didn’t mind the zits on my ass / gave her more to read). A lesser bit is high school party, a song that doesn’t really do much.

Another good bit though it was recorded in studio and not during the show is rehab center for fictional characters featuring Santa, the Keebler elf, and a bad impression of Tony the Tiger.

The stand-up comedy DVD in this Comedy Central release features Bo Burnham’s Comedy Central Presents special featuring “My whole family”, “bo fo sho”, “high school party”,  “I’m bo yo”, “new math”, and “love is”. It also features a music videos, more than a dozen decent quality home made music videos,  and a 10-minute live performance at the Improv.

Bo Burnham
Bo Burnham
Stand-up Comedy CD and DVD
Comedy Central Records 2009
43 minutes

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