Some of you may wonder how a 20-year-old stand-up comedian who plays the piano can generate so much coverage. Perhaps it's because he is truly the next-generation comedian. Perhaps Bo Burnham is so plugged into comedy as a so-called "Milennial" that he is paving the way for all of the young comedians to come.
Burnham certainly is a devoted fan of comedy himself. And I don't just say that because he's a loyal reader of The Comic's Comic. I say it also because he's willing to write and record a song such as "Art is Dead," which you can see/hear on his new CD/DVD. The kid already seems to have it figured out. Sort of. Some lyrics NSFW. Roll it!
Also, he's willing to acknowledge that many of his fans are young peers who haven't experienced much live comedy before, so he'd like to do his part to steer them to other comedians. This is what Bo Burnham wrote to his fans yesterday:
i just started my tour. after my shows, i stick around and meet whoever wants to stick around and meet me - and in doing so, i've noticed something. a lot of the younger people who have come out to my show told me that my show was the first live comedy show they've been to. and while this fact is very flattering - and i really do appreciate how much you (the youngins) support me - i feel obligated to introduce you guys to some other comedians. because so much of what i do is because of my love of stand-up and my oftentimes unhealthy worship (yes, worship) of my favorite comedians. i really wouldn't be where i am now without having been able to look to many of these comedians for inspiration - so i feel like the least i could do is introduce a small portion of the next generation to them.
and if you're a well-versed comedy fan, hopefully there will be a few that you haven't heard of.
also, i am going to categorize them in ridiculously inaccurate, subjective ways. and i'll include a clip for each.
If you want to know what bowled over the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, then you can see and/or listen for yourself as Bo Burnham's Words, Words, Words is out now in separate CD and DVD formats.
I was at Burnham's CD recording in June at Carolines on Broadway. Burnham may look like a lanky 20-year-old, but his comedy stature continues to grow as he strives to prove that he's more than just a kid who posted YouTube videos from his bedroom. On Words, Words, Words, already his second disc for Comedy Central Records, Burnham steps away from the keyboard to showcase his lyrical flair for wordplay accompanied by a guitar, in haikus, statistics, traditional stand-up, meta parodies of stand-up, and even a famous Shakespearean soliloquy. His CD cover puts his words all over his face. On the DVD, Burnham ups the ante by having his entire act printed out on giant boards behind him onstage.
It's a sophomore effort that, coming from a kid who coulda woulda shoulda be a sophomore at NYU, is already deserving of high honors.
Here's the new music video for the studio version of his track, "OH BO."
In the follow-up to their hugely popular series, "Learning Guitar to Get You Laid," CollegeHumor has turned to young musical comedian Bo Burnham to teach you similar skills on the piano. Burnham's CD and DVD, "Words Words Words," comes out tomorrow. A review is forthcoming.
Until then, watch this. It's safe for work. Not safe for ladies.
This kid's got the knack for knowing and showing, and looks like he's growing. It's Bo Burnham, y'all. All 20 years and six-foot-something of him, debuting the first music video off his new disc, "words, words, words." Co-produced by Kool Keith, who also seconds Burnham's notion that he's a hypocrite. Happy happy hippo crit. Note: Song contains words that are NSFW. Related: Burnham's album drops in October, tour follows.
Hey guys! I don't know what it was about Sept. 13 that made comedians decide to produce YouTube videos to announce their fall comedy tours, but both Bo Burnham and Tim & Eric did so. They're not touring together. Unless Neil Hamburger turns out to be Burnham in disguise. Which would be Great Job, Awesome.
Bo Burnham found his fame via YouTube, so it made sense for him to say something here. Although I guess he hadn't said anything here in a while, which made that newsworthy for the YouTube commenters. For you and me, however, wait for the end to catch a peek of Burnham in the studio recording one of his tracks for "Words, Words, Words."
His tour dates look like this:
THE BO BURNHAM AND (NO) FRIENDS TOUR
10/23/2010 Park West - Chicago, IL
10/24/2010 Turner Hill Ballroom - Milwaukee, WI
10/28/2010 Barrymore Theatre - Madison, WI
10/29/2010 Englert Theatre - Iowa City, IA
10/30/2010 Royal Oak Music Hall - Royal Oak, MI
10/31/2010 Varsity Theatre - Minneapolis, MN
11/04/2010 The Knitting Factory - Boise, ID
11/05/2010 Aladdin Theatre - Portland, OR
11/07/2010 Showbox - Seattle, WA
11/11/2010 Regency Center - San Francisco, CA
11/13/2010 Music Box - Los Angeles, CA
11/14/2010 SOMA - San Diego, CA
11/17/2010 La Zona Rosa - Austin, TX
11/18/2010 Numbers Nightclub - Houston, TX
11/19/2010 Palladium Ballroom - Dallas, TX
11/20/2010 Tipitinas - New Orleans, LA
12/02/2010 Higher Ground Ballroom - Burlington, VT
12/03/2010 State Theatre - State College, PA
12/04/2010 Trocadero Theatre - Philadelphia, PA
12/05/2010 Capitol Theatre - Columbus, OH
Tim and Eric, meanwhile, announced a "Chrimbus Special" to air Dec. 5 on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network), in addition to a fall tour that kicks off Nov. 1. Roll the clip.
And here are their dates:
11/1/2010: Seattle, WA, SODO
11/2/2010: Portland, OR, Roseland Theater
11/3/2010: Eugene, OR, W.O.W. Hall
11/4/2010: Chico, CA, El Rey Theater
11/5/2010: San Francisco, CA, The Regency Ballroom
11/6/2010: Los Angeles, CA, Club Nokia
11/8/2010: Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
11/9/2010: Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
11/11/2010: Dallas, TX Granada Theater
11/12/2010: Houston, TX Warehouse Live
11/13/2010 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
11/15/2010: Kansas City, MO Midland by AMC
11/16/2010: Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theatre
11/17/2010: Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
11/18/2010: Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
11/20/2010: Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
11/21/2010: Detroit, MI Royal Oak
11/22/2010: Pittsburgh, PA Carnegie
11/23/2010: Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
11/24/2010: Philadelphia, PA The Trocadero
11/26/2010: Boston, MA Wilbur Theatre
11/27/2010: New York, NY Nokia
11/28/2010: Burlington, VT Higher Ground
11/29/2010: Hartford, CT The Webster
11/30/2010: Albany, NY Northern Lights
12/1/2010: Falls Church, VA State Theatre
12/3/2010: Nashville, TN Cannery
12/4/2010: Louisville, KY Headliners
12/5/2010: Atlanta, GA Variety
If Bo Burnham, all of newly 20 years old, did not deserve to be on the 2010 shortlist for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards (sponsored by Foster's, which is Scottish for not quite bottled water but instead it's Australian beer!), I would tell you so. Bo Burnham's "Words, Words, Words" is brilliant.
Congrats to Burnham for making the shortlist! He'll be competing for Edinburgh's top prize alongside Josie Long, Greg Davies, Russell Kane and Sarah Millican. Millican won the best newcomer award in 2008, when these prizes were called the if.comedy awards. Kane was previously nominated in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Davies was nominated in 2006 in the same show as Kane, and is also an actor on The Inbetweeners.
The 2010 shortlist for best newcomer includes Asher Treleaven, An Audience with Imran Yusuf, The Boy with Tape on His Face, Gareth Richards, Late Night Gimp Fight!, and Roisin Conaty.
This year, Foster's also is sponsoring a separate public vote for your "Comedy God," in which you can tell the judges they got it right or wrong in previous years by elevating your pick for who's best.
Winners from the shortlist, plus the judges Panel Prize, will be announced on Saturday, 28 August, 2010.
Just when you were feeling good about how your comedy career was progressing, here's a reminder that you probably didn't record your second stand-up comedy CD before you turned 20. Bo Burnham -- the teen who became a musical comedy star thanks to the YouTube and recorded his first Comedy Central special in August 2008, four days after he turned 18 -- is recording his second CD tonight at Carolines on Broadway in NYC.
What more do you need to know? Oh, how about this: In July, Burnham heads on tour to perform at the Just For Laughs festivals in Toronto and Montreal, then across the pond for the Carlsberg festival in Dublin, and the month of August at Edinburgh Fringe.
For the second year, Just For Laughs Montreal is putting several of its shows into an offshoot called Zoofest, and this time, they're opening acknowledging it as the "off the wall parallel" to JFL. In other words, for all of the unique, interesting and possibly amazing one-person shows by performers who aren't headlining Galas or otherwise big-ticket names to Canadians, why don't you try Zoofest? "1 show for $15, 2 shows for $20" Or get a Zoopass for $29.99 (do I need to tell you these are in Canadian dollars) It's all about marketing, really.
What comedy fans want to know is who's going to be there this July? Why don't I tell you!
Bill Burr, "You People Are All The Same," July 12-16 at Theatre Ste-Catherine
Bo Burnham, "Words Words Words," July 12-15, 17 at Theatre Ste-Catherine
Donald Glover, "Gross!", July 12-17 at Katacombes
Jamie Kilstein, "No God, No War, No Nickelback," July 14-15, 17, at Theatre Ste-Catherine
Jim Jefferies, "Alcoholocaust," July 12-17 at Katacombes
"Kim Noble Will Die," July 12-7, 20-24 at Theatre La Chappelle
Noel Fielding Live, July 12-17 at Savoy at Metropolis
Patrice Oneal, "Mr. P," July 13-17 at Katacombes
Phil Nichol, "A Deadpan Poet Sings Quiet Songs Quietly," July 12-17 at Katacombes
Tim Key, "The Slutcracker," July 14-17 at Savoy at Metropolis
Tom Wrigglesworth, "An Open Letter to Richard Branson," July 12-17 at Savoy at Metropolis
Related: Zoofest ticket info.
The only thing people love making more than year-end list are decade-end lists, and some of them seem as much about generating page-views as they are about subjectively ranking things that should not be ranked. That's rank! So where are my lists? I've got something else up my sleeves for this December, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you the iTunes list of their choices of the 20 best comedy discs from 2009, along with my thoughts on said list.
For one thing, it's really across the board. Any list that puts Brent Weinbach side-by-side with Katt Williams is looking to appeal to all sorts. I'm not exactly sure I agree with everything on here, but then again, I haven't quite listened to all of them just yet -- there are stacks of CDs and DVDs in my apartment, and I hope to get through them all by year's end and share my own thoughts on them with you. I have listened to and reviewed eight of the iTunes 20; most of the rest are waiting in my queue, and a few I don't even have my hands on just yet? My loss or yours? Also, iTunes missed some great ones from the past year. No John Mulaney? I haven't heard Paul F. Tompkins new disc yet, but would presume it's worthy. And no ladies on the list? Not even Maria Bamford? Harumph. Here, then, are the iTunes choices from the year in comedy -- I'm not sure if they have a ranking order from iTunes, so I'll list them alphabetically:
That's right. Louis CK just recorded enough material Saturday night in Boston from his ongoing "Hilarious" tour to fill two CDs. When I mentioned this to him after he finished signing autographs and taking photos with fans, he realized he hadn't thought about the limitations of the compact disc -- such is the nature of our relationship with digital technology these days. Of course, our increasing reliance on high-tech gadgets and innovations is one of the many topics that came under his microscope during his 95-minute set at the Orpheum (crews captured another three minutes of his pre-show announcements that may find their way onto the CD, plus an encore of about 12 minutes, from which he told me he may use only a little bit on disc). An October 2008 panel appearance with Conan O'Brien -- in which Louis CK talks about how we have forgotten what technology and science has made possible for us -- has shot around the Internets recently, as evidenced by the crowd giving him an applause break Saturday night when he began getting into the topic. The few minutes he told Conan is part of a broader message that lasted about 18-19 minutes on Saturday on how all of the great things that our world has invented and created in the past two decades have been wasted on us. When he railed against people complaining about the reaction times on their cell phones, noting, "The sh!$$iest cell phone in the world is a miracle!" I could not help but note that just before the show, my cell phone, combined with the application of Twitter, not only informed me that rising teen comedian Bo Burnham was also in the crowd, but also allowed me to find him among the 2,600 fans at the Orpheum and exchange greetings in person.
Bo Burnham may only be a college freshman, but he already has his first full-length musical comedy gem out today via Comedy Central Records. How did he do it? By becoming a YouTube star. Burnham pays it forward today by showing how you can cash in, too!
Watch videos for two of the 13 songs on the CD, after the jump...
Free tickets are available to this year's Comedy Central Presents tapings in New York City, taping shows in pairs from Aug. 24-29, 2008 at the Hudson Theater. I believe Bo Burnham is setting a land-speed record by getting a half-hour TV special before he enrolls in college at NYU and just days after turning 18! Here are your pairings, with links for tickets to each:
6 p.m. Aug. 24: Pete Lee, Rebecca Corry
8 p.m. Aug. 24: Joe DeRosa, Brian Scolaro
6 p.m. Aug. 25: Dan Levy, Bo Burnham
8 p.m. Aug. 25: Jasper Redd, Eddie Ifft
6 p.m. Aug. 26: Greg Warren, Josh Blue
8 p.m. Aug. 26: Erin Foley, Chris Porter
6 p.m. Aug. 27: Anthony Jeselnik, Doug Benson
8 p.m. Aug. 27: Kurt Metzger, Tom Rhodes
6 p.m. Aug. 28: Jamie Lissow, Greer Barnes
8 p.m. Aug. 28: Tommy Johnigan, Jimmy Carr
6 p.m. Aug. 29: John Mulaney, Kristen Schaal
8 p.m. Aug. 29: Red Grant, Rob Stapleton
The people at Just For Laughs in Montreal decided to recap some of their shows in video highlights, which means you can get a feel for what you saw, or what you missed. Although they don't give all of the New Faces face time (hmmm), but the Just For Laughs video portal (yes, they have their own video portal for you to upload your own funny fun-time videos) includes a highlight reel set to music and with more Galas and French Canadians than any other JFL video. So let's start with that one, with the New Faces, Amp'd and Masters after the jump!
It's time for one last look around the 2008 Montreal Just For Laughs festival, which Variety reports raked in $10 million (which is about the same in Canadian as it is in U.S. dollars these days!) this July. Which means this final recap must begin with the guy who buzzed about the festival...
Doug Stanhope, who set up his Slamdance to their Sundance, aka Just For Spite festival with shows Friday and Saturday at Club Chaos, told me on Saturday night that he'd been offered a paltry $1,100 to perform 10 nights of one-man shows at the fest (or as he added, less than what he earned during his first trip to Montreal's JFL), which prompted his fury. Much of the buzz about Stanhope during the fest itself centered around two incidents, both of which Stanhope wrote about online. He first aired his grievances on Wednesday via 236.com, then on Friday night, after getting kicked out of a JFL venue by fest organizer Bruce Hills, Stanhope went to his MySpace to fill us in on the details.
Most pleasant surprise in a one-man show: Patrice Oneal. Here's a guy who seems so in your face and so not safe for work that, well, that's how his career even began in Boston, challenging another comedian. And he has made his name on the club circuit as that guy who won't take no gruff. But you take him out of the comedy clubs and put him in an intimate theater setting, give him a stool or a chair and just let him speak...wow. As I noted earlier, his one-man show, Positivity, is positively brilliant. He may think he's not getting any smarter. But this show is the smartest thing he has done.
The lucky New Faces bump? Last year, Tom Papa hosted all of the New Faces showcases and handled himself with such professionalism and managed to bring the funny, that I recall singling him out and hoping he'd get a show of his own. This year, Papa got the special one-man showcase named after the late Richard Jeni and earned nightly standing ovations for his show, Only Human. Here's the Montreal Gazette review to chew on. I saw similar magic coming from Greg Giraldo this year in hosting New Faces, and hope he gets a similar promotion in 2009. Giraldo always has mastered the art of topical social commentary, but there also has been so much going on in his world, both professionally and personally, that could be mined for a one-man show. Let's make that happen.
Funniest comic-on-comic impersonation: Greg Behrendt, who introduced himself to the audience as "a 45-year-old alternative comic," doing Russell Brand at the midnight Alternative showcase, slinking his way around the stage and joking about Brand having sex with Kate Moss.
Toughest ticket for a show I wished I'd seen: They say you mock the ones you love (some do), so Behrendt must have been paying tribute to Russell Brand's status as the hot comic of the moment. You had to sweet talk your way into his sold-out performances. Thankfully, I got to see Brand a couple of days later in New York City (my review of Russell Brand).
Toughest ticket for a show I'm not sorry I missed: Apatow For Destruction. Movie producers and movie stars should not always be confused for great stand-up comedians.
How young is he, again? Bo Burnham, at 17, is the new sensation, already signed to Gersh with a Comedy Central EP that zoomed up the iTunes charts. Where did he come from? Outside of Boston, since you asked. He generated some "heat" as they say in the bidness. I saw him the previous weekend open up for Joel McHale at Carolines and deliver an amazingly proficient and efficient 13-minute musical set of songs and rap. How did this tall, scrawny high-school kid making YouTube videos gain so much poise onstage with less than 20 live performances to his credit? He told me. "I'm young, dumb and fearless." Here's a recent fairly NSFW video from Bo fo yo (argh, I just really typed that and didn't backspace backspace delete, didn't I?):
State of the Industry vs. Comedy Person of the Year: Andy Kindler wins in a walk-off, as Kindler filled the room to more than capacity, with people standing in the foyer, then half of them walking out to skip the festival's awarding of "Comedy Person of the Year" to Judd Apatow. Having Apatow did guarantee that all his famous friends and industry associates would show up in Montreal, though, leading to some heartfelt words from Apatow himself, and a funny quip from Seth Rogen: "Look at us. We're a parade of bad fashion...It's like we're at the rehearsal for the award."
Just Comedy? Remember the days when you didn't have to pay $500 to attend a festival thrown on your behalf? Oh, those were days. But Just Comedy's two-day confab proved to be kind of eh. As I joked to Andy Kindler in our short video interview, I only stayed at the Webisode to Episode panel for about five minutes, because that's as long as that panel should have been. Don't they know this already? Because of that, I missed out on perhaps the liveliest panel of the confab, as club owners kvetched at length about the business of live touring.
All-around favorites: You couldn't go anywhere in Montreal without someone reminding you how great John Mulaney and Brent Weinbach were at the festival. I shall sing Mulaney's praises to anyone who asks, and it was great to see him knock it out of the park (that's a baseball term) at JFL, with people especially rapt over his tale of playing a joke on a restaurant at age 11. Mind you, he's only 25 now. He will tape a Comedy Central Presents next month and you will enjoy it. He's also co-headlining at Comix next month (Aug. 22-23) with Nick Kroll. As for Weinbach, he won the Andy Kaufman Award in Vegas last year for a reason, and showed why in Montreal with an over-the-top performance at the alternative showcases.
New Faces recaps: My favorites or yours? Brendon Walsh stood out for me with his cleverness, while Sean Patton surprised me because I had never seen him in a mainstream club before. Harris Wittels delivered the ballsiest set, ending a routine that included misnamed bands and masturbation issues with a joke about racism. Ira Proctor turned it around so much from the first set to the second that veteran Larry Miller couldn't stop complimenting him. Mo Mandel was the singular standout from the other group. Although truth be told, most people I talked to from the industry were relatively underwhelmed by this year's crop of New Faces as a whole. Then again, they were relatively underwhelmed in general.
State of the New Faces Industry: What does it say about the comedy industry and Montreal's New Faces that two of them, Iliza Shlesinger and Jeff Dye, are among the finalists for this season on NBC's Last Comic Standing? A few things. Among them: The NBC producers prefer fresh-faced comedians, even if they're relatively inexperienced, because it allows them to have control (read: earn money) by launching their careers nationally. Also, it means tough luck for industry wanting a piece, as NBC and the producers have them under its contractual spell already. Anyone want to guess whether Shlesinger and Dye already are locked up for the nationwide club/theater tour that follows the season finale?
The Masters: Speaking of Larry Miller, what a class act he proved to be in Montreal, not just for actually watching younger comedians and saying nice things to them, but also for being the consummate host for the Masters showcases. Miller has been one of the more amusing voices of reason on Bill Maher's HBO chat show, Real Time, and it's so nice to be able to see Miller onstage again doing stand-up. As he told audiences, "Almost everyone on the show is someone I've known for years and respect -- and they're all good." Well, I'll be the judge of that. Henry Cho, a Korean raised in Tennesee, "so I'm South Korean." If you didn't enjoy Esther Ku's jokes about getting Koreans confused for each other, what would you make of this master's trip to the homeland with his father: "When we went to Korea, he walked 20 feet away and I lost him!" Hal Sparks continues to sport his Criss Angel hair and magician look, despite how it looks. It looks like Criss Angel. Instead, Sparks ranted against people who miss his short hair, talked about losing his Kentucky accent, and did a big act-out about sexually peaking. Cathy Ladman hates her New York voice, and Montreal audiences weren't exactly thrilled with it, either. Another trip to the therapist and everything will be OK. Henry Phillips and his guitar? Well, here's a little number you may have heard before, "Sweet Little Blossom of Mine." Todd Glass: I hadn't seen him live in four years, and man, how I missed seeing his energetic self. Glass is a guy who's always on, even when he's not on he's on. What a bundle of fun! Remember when Glass was on Last Comic Standing and kept mugging for everyone at everytime...good times. At the Masters, Glass riffed on both Sparks and Phillips and then himself, and destroyed with a bit about how easy recipes are, such as corn pudding! Meantime, here's an oldie but a goodie from Glass. Thea Vidale and I sat next to each other on the "regional jet" up from New York City, and regional jet means really small plane, which means I actually should have and could have used the phrase, "C'mon and sit on Daddy's lap!" And Billy Gardell closed by focusing on how kids have changed and how we've all changed because of anti-depressants, with a presence that shows you what a veteran stand-up headliner's set is all about.
Shuttle buddies: Don't know how it worked out like this, because we didn't see other during the fest and came from different cities, but Kent from Ask A Ninja and I ended up on the same shuttles to and from the airport in Montreal. Serendipity?
But what about next year: What about 2009? As noted or hinted at previously, several industry folks grumbled openly about wondering why they'd come to Montreal again in the first place. The festival certainly didn't dispel stereotypes about the friendliness of French Canadians, as they tried every manner in the book to get industry up to Montreal -- including their annual withholding of the New Faces and Masters names until two days before most would arrive, adding this two-day Just Comedy confab and charging industry $500 to show up -- then giving industry folks multiple hassles once they made it to Montreal. And that's not to mention the outrageous prices in the Hyatt Regency ($3 for a Coca-Cola, $10 for a bottle of beer), the attitude of the Hyatt toward the industry (even though the festival encouraged them to stay in the Hyatt) and the fact that some Hyatt workers were picketing outside made for a big barrel of not-fun. Stanhope wasn't the only one to openly ask if Montreal has become more about making a profit off of comedy fans and less about being a place for discovering and launching comedy careers. So what will happen in 2009 when JFL joins up with TBS to host a comedy festival in Chicago the month before Montreal? Will the industry go to Chicago and skip Montreal entirely? It only served to make me miss the atmosphere in Aspen, a festival run by people who really wanted it to be a home for the comedy industry (even if it proved too expensive and snowy). It also makes me want to start up my own comedy festival, a true showcase to bring industry to the talents worth watching, both new and old. If anyone wants to help me make that come true, please holler my way. Thanks.