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Bo Burnham's Inside Outtakes: The process behind an unravelling mind

Happy Bo Burnham day, we’ve been gifted something special.

Image: Bo Burnham / YouTube

It’s been 365 days since Bo Burnham — comedian, singer, white man, problematic suburbanite — released Inside, a special visual album created during the pandemic from a single, two-windowed room.

Inside was the artistic documentation of humans confined to their homes, minds unravelling, existential crises mounting, boredom deafening. And we lapped it up. 

So, the kind-hearted soul that he is, Burnham has given us the rest. Announcing the new release on Twitter, prefaced with a simple “Stand by…” Burnham wrote: “a year ago today, I released a special called Inside. I’ve spent the last two months editing together material that I shot for the special but didn’t end up using. It will be on my YouTube channel in one hour. I hope you enjoy it.”

This is an erratic amalgamation of clips of the process that went in to making Inside, Burnham’s experiments with lighting – “is this cool or fucking stupid?” –  interspersed with songs that didn’t make the final cut, snippets of stand-up comedy, behind the scenes shots of behind the scenes, and even a podcast episode. 

It feels cluttered, hectic, and is a testament to the sheer volume of content that Burnham was testing out, binning, re-doing, further capturing the messiness of the process that went into Inside. It makes the emergence of Inside even more impressive, that Burnham managed to untangle this enormous ball of matted thoughts and clips to distil them into the masterpiece that is Inside. 

Whereas Inside was released on Netflix, Burnham has released The Outtakes on YouTube, so it comes complete with faux adverts and pop-ups that you catch yourself from trying to close when the joke finally clicks. This is the inescapable, inexhaustible presence of The Internet. 

At 63 minutes – just 24 minutes shy of the 83-minute runtime of the original, this is the pie made from the off-cuts, and they’re delicious. On Bo Burnham Day 2023, will we get an outtakes of The Inside Outtakes? Here’s hoping.

These are our favourite tracks from The Inside Outtakes

Living In The Future

The main question in my mind approaching this was: Will Burnham’s exploration of mental claustrophobia still resonate so deeply in a world that is no longer stuck inside? 

The answer is resoundingly, yes. We are still asking ourselves: “Am I depressed? Stressed? It’s anyone’s guess”. Living In The Future is a brief dip into the false realities we create of our future selves – one where Burnham has a daughter and successfully meditates.

An upbeat banger that draws on the melody of Problematic, Living In The Future wouldn’t be out of place in a Shoreditch basement, but with added monotony to really hammer home the never-ending disappointment of the present.

5 Years

A smooth Afrobeat-inspired track reminiscent of Drake, this could be a sultry love song marking five years of romantic bliss, if it weren’t interspersed with the type of mundane bickerings that can spiral into a full blown sleeping-on-the-couch crisis. Includes the faultless wisdom: “Everyone’s a feminist until there is a spider around”.

Relatable, sexy, mentions poo; one to put on when the sun’s shining and the mojitos are on their way.

Vote For Joe Biden

At 50 seconds, this is one of the shortest tracks Burnham includes (the award goes to the one-shot SPIDER! at a full 0.16 seconds), but manages to be his most scathing – encapsulating the choice between two (almost) equally unappealing options. 

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This Isn’t a Joke

With heavy autotune Burnham recalls being born. It left him with a scar – literally, not metaphorically. 

Bezos

A nice track your granddad could put on and listen to over tea time, a track that transports the listener back to a better time, a simpler time. Just close your eyes and you’re twirling on the dancefloor with childhood sweetheart “Jeffrey” Bezos, feeling that fuzzy feeling when he gazes into your eyes. A sweet respite from capitalism.

All Eyes On Me (Reprise)

A rehashed working from one of the stand out hits from the original film, this is same same but different. A thousand different versions of this will never be enough.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

The last song of the set, so we’re told. One of Burnham’s less catchy tracks, it’s my least favourite, but still good. No-doubt Universal Studios will snap it up to make a new feature film starring Julia Roberts as the chicken who risks it all. Lacked nuance.

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