bo burnham

bo burnham.png

had heard of eighth grade movie.. but intro’d to bo via team human w douglas:

douglas rushkoff (@rushkoff) tweeted at 5:01 AM on Wed, Aug 01, 2018:
I just published “The Movie of Your Own Life Does Not Suck: A conversation with Bo Burnham”

how social media companies — no matter their intent — can still provide young people with the platforms they need to experiment with identity, define themselves on their own terms, and offer up the best, most honest things they have to share with one another. 

burnham: I really wanted to talk about someone failing to articulate ..The gulf between the idea you have in your head and what comes out of your face. 

burnham: And you see kids online who are self-made in their bedrooms, but imposing upon themselves the standards of Hollywood and higher culture for no reason. They don’t have to. It’s weird to watch a little show of a 15-year-old kid, who is still adhering to standards of NBC.

burnham:  I can’t believe the sort of conversations we’re having about the Internet are like cyberbullying and Russia. There’s something a little subtler going on! There’s something interior, something that’s actually changing our own view of ourselves, our relationship between our head and our heart and our stomach. Before we start processing giant social trends I think we have to understand how the internet radicalizes our own relationship to ourselves way more than our relationship to other people. 

douglas .. team human.. bo burnham

from audio:

8 min – i really wanted to talk about someone failing to articulate.. and i do think that the performed version of yourself is not necessarily false..  i do think who you hope to be can be a more vulnerable truth than who you are afraid you may be. i think people are more quick to admit their deepest fears than their deepest hopes.

12 min – you see kids online who are self-made in their bedrooms, but imposing upon themselves the standards of hollywood and higher culture for no reason. they don’t have to. it’s weird to watch a little show of a 15-year-old kid who is still adhering to standards of nbc

13 min – you are one of the few people in the world i will listen to commentary from on the Internet. everybody else i feel like we haven’t even gathered the raw data to have a conversation, yet.. t. this stuff is changing too rapidly for anyone to have a helicopter view of it. and if they do that means they’re not participating.

begs self-talk as raw data

14 min – that’s my issue with a lot of like sort of ironic dystopian or satire stuff about the internet. to me it’s talking about the internet but playing the internet game  where the internet rewards irony and meta commentary and sort of really quick thinking, fast, sexy jump cut loud stuff.

20 min – it was just trying to do a really/truly subjective view of the thing.. from kids’ perspective.. w/o any judgment.. trying to portray the weird sort of dissociative sense of how you go thru the world w this thing.. and how you float behind yourself much like a camera.. going thru a situation .. not only are you present in the situation.. you are watching live the situation.. you’re watching other people watch you.. you’re watching other people watch you watch them watch you.. and that’s very strange.. when i read present shock it felt like the first real description of something that i hadn’t been able to articulate. what was so important to me about that is that it was a real subjective description of what was going on. i can’t believe the sort of conversations we’re having about the internet are like cyberbullying and russia. there’s something a little subtler going on..there’s something interior, something that’s actually changing our own view of ourselves, our relationship between our head and our heart and our stomach. before we start processing giant social trends

i think we have to understand how the internet radicalizes our own relationship to ourselves way more than our relationship to other people..t

thurman alive law

what we need most: the energy of 7bn alive people

22 min – d: the weird thing i’ve been thinking about lately is how it all happens on memory. all processing is in memory. and that’s why our whole society’s become about memory..t..  it’s like..who were we..or ..make america great again..


23 min – maybe it is something to do with the need for the sort of narrative collapse you described in present shock.. we really do spend so much time building narrative for ourselves and i sense ..there was a real pressure to view one’s life as something like a movie..what am i? how good of a character am i in my own life? ..t.. that’s part of kayla’s struggle.. she feels like..the movie of my own life sucks and i’m trying really hard to tell my story as i’m living it.. and i don’t think it’s that good.. and the idea of the movie is that your struggle to tell that is good, is a good story. .your failure to live up to the cultural standard of what an active agent needs to be in a story, is your story and it is compelling…t

krishnmurti measure law

on r rating.. just saying ‘nudes’.. ie: ‘were you sending nudes.. made it an r

24 min – d: so it’s accurate to an 8th graders

yeah so.. 8th grade is r

d: so 8th graders can’t be exposed to their reality..

so that’s the thing (on r rating).. it didn’t seem like our responsibility to portray a reality we felt was appropriate for kids.. it’s like culture’s responsibility to create a reality..t

hari rat park law

d: so i was waiting for the r.. and it didn’t come.. and it’s like.. no .. it’s just that this level of our understanding of the world is r

part of it too is trying to sort of dignify the banal experience of a kid significant.. to say that.. things don’t have to go where you think they’re going to go in the movie for it to be incredibly dramatic/important/resonant for a kid.. i think the drama in our lives plays out very low stakes.. i think people are so non-confrontational in real life..

26 min – this is like the google bus.. the currency is attention for kids.. that is what is being given and withheld.. and that is actually how the hierarchy is being built.. who has attention and who doesn’t.. the worst thing that can be done is being invisible and not seen

29 min – i had a privileged life and i got lucky and i’m unhappy.. on the me generation – the arrogance was taught.. sm is just the market’s answer to a generation that’s demanded to perform.. it’s prison’s horrific.. t

doctorow city as prison law

to market to the base wants of 10 yr olds..

31 min – businesses built on base desire/wants of 10 & 11 yr olds

d: even car commercials are to the 2-5 yr old.. mini van

32 min – if you want to say word shit on tv have to go in front of congress.. if you want to change the neuro chemistry of an entire generation.. you have to be 5 people in a room full of 9 in sv putting your hand out.. i don’t know how to solve this..t

gershenfeld sel

the danger of the internet is not only that it’s not free enough.. it also needs to.. in a big way.. not be free.. that the safeguard to a youth watching porn online is a clicking yes..

33 min – d: now talking about making humane tech..  ie: we’ll addict them in a humane way.. because we still need to draw value from them

34 min – d: ie zuck leaving before myelin sheath is even form and now taking advice from sv guy saying.. do this first in order to later get to your dream..

35 min – i had to resist everything they said.. ie: disappear for a while.. and not post everyday.. you have to resist a lot of impulses..

39 min – why do you seem to have such effervescent joy when covering these things..

40 min – it seems like all there is is spin.. all these comedy satire shows.. when it’s absolutely what the system calls for.. this is what it wants.. we’d rather be wide eyed as the world burns.. than sleepy w green all around us

42 min – pathetic that we only put down little screens for big screens.. but.. very significant that.. ie: 14 yr old bigger than you..

43 min – d: even me.. 50 something.. looking for (ie: in movie) the answer to how to live my life..t

45 min – d: unless there’s a real radical shift..  which there could be..t

as it could be.. ie: 2 convos.. as infra

this entire problem is the problem of privilege

d: trying to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the thing your earning your money is creating..t

i have to say.. your joy is getting more unsettling as you describe these things

47 min – d: on immigrants..  i’m not optimistic.. but i’m still hopeful.. now i’m.. we’ve got to change the way we understand the human story..t

48 min – that’s what i felt from the (your) books.. that they were deeply human.. on things going against our conscious thinking of the world.. that is troubling..

49 min – d: brain space.. because that’s the only free space left

52 min – non entertainment as entertainment.. it’s dead pool.. a bn dollar corp winking at you

54 min – what’s important is the .. getting us there

57 min – the greatest thing you can do for kids is empower them to be themselves.. that’s actors in general.. feeling like you’re in a safe space to fail

spaces of permission w nothing to prove..

1:00 – d: to ask the should question .. you have to pause long enough to ask it.. and pausing itself is seen as the enemy of the market.. while you’re pausing.. someone else is getting the market

d: the kids in the movie are so immersed in sm that they’re not.. it becomes the background

1:04 – the people you have to worry about are people not expressing their feelings

1:06 – after make happy.. that i have a message that is not just about me.. that my particular thing is not particular.. she (elsie) was more me than i was.. she’s living it purely.. genuinely

few days later .. tweet from bo:

Bo Burnham (@boburnham) tweeted at 6:55 PM on Tue, Aug 07, 2018:
I got to talk with one of my absolute heroes Douglas @Rushkoff who is IMO the greatest living writer on the subject of the internet and how it affects us emotionally.


happy a lot of people don’t know who i am:

Yeah, I would ideally like people to know even less than you did.

Just show up? Just, “Where am I?”

Yeah, exactly.


She’s a proxy for how I feel now, how I navigate my own anxiety, how it feels like to navigate the world now, and it just happened to be, for some reason, a 13-year-old eighth-grade girl that felt like the perfect conduit for what I felt like it feels like to be alive right now..t

perhaps because.. science of people/whales


but it’s not a movie about social media. It’s a movie about a person who’s 13 or 14 years old.

Yeah, social media’s also not about social media, in the same way


I would say that the movies that I think try to make it about social media misunderstand what social media is. That social media is just a forum where emotions express themselves and the actual particulars aren’t as relevant as what’s being expressed through them and what’s being felt because of them.


Yeah, I don’t know. The thing I just do believe about that age or about kids is that, yes, part of what they’re going through is the trials and tribulations of coming of age. I don’t like that term, but …

not natural most often though.. ie: science of people/whales ness..  i think we contrive/contort/coerce ourselves to be not ourselves..


And other things are part of the human condition. That’s actually also what’s happening. The thing you have access to is the thing we struggle with until our last breath, which is just, we are human beings on the surface on the Earth walking around trying to be happy. So, I think sometimes all of the young experience is dismissed as “young,” as this just temporary thing that is indicative only of your youth and the journey you’re on. And not also like, you also have access to the deepest questions you’ll ever ask yourself, which is, “Who am I? What am I doing here? What it does it mean to be happy? How do I get that happiness?”

Hopefully, part of the movie is dignifying kids with that, as well, saying … because I had always just sensed from stories about young people that they were inherently less significant or they ..


Yes. Exactly. That they don’t have access to just … that an adult story is of course more meaningful, and I just don’t agree with that.

begs we not scramble ourselves at 5 or whenever.. see what the whale is like beyond sea world.. in an undisturbed ecosystem


I just think we are maybe able to reach deeper or articulate … we’re just able to articulate our experiences a little better when we’re older, but the kernel of it is happening there.

maybe the problem is in thinking we have to articulate us.. ie: is our older articulation.. really us..? i don’t think it is.. wilde not us law et al


interviewer: I can see plenty of upside, right? Finding other like-minded people and going deep down rabbit holes.


Yeah, and I just don’t totally … I think that’s just too simple of a definition of what it means to hope. What it means to try to speak something into existence. I really, truly believe that what we hope we might be is a more vulnerable truth than what we wish we were,and there’s a base confessionalism on the internet that I think is seen as a virtue and then a sort of hopeful projection on the internet that’s seen as a vice, and I don’t think that’s true at all


Or you write a diary, which is also a performance. If you read a diary from that age, you are performing, even to yourself. You read your own personal diary and you go, “Why was I trying to prove to myself that I was deep?” The truth is, as timeless as it would’ve been, I would never have written a … I don’t think I would’ve written a story about a 13-year-old if it had not had these elements because it wasn’t … the element of a public expression of your own narrative to a faceless audience was so interesting to me.

self-talk as data.. how do i hide and still be out there (batra hide in public law) .. et al..  preserve maté basic needs and our undisturbed ecosystem

And the way that kids are forced, through social media, to hover over themselves and take inventory of their narrative while they’re living their lives and the tension between the cultural standard of what your life should be and the life you actually live,which is actually mostly provided by film and by television, which is you can sense the tension for Kayla is, “The movie of my life sucks. Why don’t I sound like the kids in movies?” And I think of that as a pressure for a lot of kids.

supposed to’s and volunatry compliance.. and then.. eudaimoniative surplus


When John Hughes put out his first movies, people would go like, “Why do you care so much about this? Why are you treating kids’ problems like it’s Vietnam?” People would say that. All we’ve done is represent kids meta-narratively, and social media democratizes that, so that kids themselves can represent themselves meta-narratively.

So, I think there’s a huge … this sounds so stupid and pretentious, and the movie doesn’t function on this level, if this sounds absolutely nauseating. I think the movie is meant to function way more on an emotional level.


But that is the danger of social media to me, is not the BS, the cyberbullying … It’s such a surface-level thing to go, “The problem is like cyberbullying or you’re going to send your naked pictures to the wrong person or to any person.” It’s something way weirder than that, which is there is you and then there is the other you. There is the idea of you. There is the story of you and it’s not … The danger is not that we’re going to treat the internet like it’s real, the danger is that we’re treating the real world like it’s the internet and you’re walking through an experience as a kid and you’re also hovering over yourself watching your experience from afar because that’s how people will consume it. You watch people watch your experience. You watch other people in the room watch you watch them.You’re nostalgic for the experience as you’re in it because you’re thinking of how it’ll be processed after the fact. It’s dissociative and strange and weird, and that leads to anxiety and weird feelings.

maté trump law

batra hide in public law


Like this is a complete mindfuck, and I was having a lot of anxiety from it and I would talk about it onstage, thinking that my anxiety is so specific to my circumstance, once again, being a 24-year-old male comedian performing to 3,000 people every night. I thought, “No one’s going to relate to this ever.” And I would perform my show, 14-year old girls would come up to me and say, “I know exactly what you’re going through.” I go, “What?”

And I’d realize that this sort of shitty situation, this sort of meta weird mindfuck of you and your relationship to the proper noun version of your name, Bo Burnham, the sort of disassociated sense you have of yourself that was only afforded to shitty, D-list celebrities like me was now afforded to everybody.


Yeah, and having anxiety, yeah. Sort of concurrently having two weird … Yeah. Impulses. I’d have the impulse to run and hide, and the impulse to run up and shout.

batra hide in public law

I had a song and I wanted to show my brother at college and someone was like, “There’s this place called YouTube where you can post a video.


Bo Burnham in “Make Happy”: They say it’s like the me generation, it’s not. The arrogance is taught or it was cultivated. It’s self-conscious, that’s what it is. It’s conscious of self … Social media, it’s just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform, so what the market said, “Here, perform everything to each other, all the time, for no reason.” It’s prison, it’s horrific, it is performer and audience melded together.What do we want more than to lie in our bed at the end of the day and just watch our life as a satisfied audience member?

doctorow city as prison ness

I know very little about anything, but what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it..t.. And now you’re thinking, “How the fuck are you going to dig this show out of this weird hole?”

batra hide in public law.. via gershenfeld sel


So that seemed like, boy, if I wanted to encapsulate Bo Burnham in a 15-second clip, that’s a pretty good attempt.

Yeah, if you like to encapsulate the public, distilled, interesting, trying-very-hard version of me. I’m saying if you want to like encapsulate the true version of me, it’s like, “tired with my dog” or something.

and always changing.. the it is me.. never just me.. et al

marsh label law.. imagine if we only labeled us w daily curiosities


my big revelation where it was like the two sides of the coin — one obliterated me and the other saved me — which is, “I’m not unique and I’m not alone.”


I feel incredibly lucky that the only people that know me probably like me, and if they don’t like me, they forgot about me. The worst version of fame in the world is, “Where do I know you from?” Or, “You’re the guy from …” Or just not knowing you. Yeah, that’s very, very ideal. Yeah, I can be in the world and the vast majority of people have no idea who I am..t

batra hide in public law


I would love to do another movie if I have an idea, for sure. I’m definitely not trying to wear hats to wear them, because that’s super annoying to me. People that are just trying to be versatile or whatever. I would love to do stand-up again if I had an idea or I wanted to again. It was really tough for me to do it, but yeah. I’m not a great multi-tasker. You know what I mean? Once this is over, I’ll then have to clear my head and try to think again.

great interview/thinking


bo on jimmy kimmel


3 min – i wanted to talk about what it feels like being alive now.. and it feels like being an 8th grader

jimmy: my wife: so glad not in 8th grade anymore

yeah we tend to remember as fine times..


bo and elsie fisher


when i was writing it i was coming to terms with.. i had anxiety.. in the way it’s personal it’s about my current experience.. much more than my 13 yr old experience.. i sort of look at the culture and go.. what is happening.. and i was able to do this w someone else (points to elsie).. say.. do you know what’s happening.. and we kind of both look and shrug out at the universe

huge – we’re all the same.. look how similar they look (age wise)

a lot of the movies on kids .. have to be so big to make the emotions seem harry potter slaying dragons.. i love you but i have lupus.. et al.. can you sync the audiences heart rate in hers.. because if that’s happening it doesn’t matter what situations are like.. it doesn’t matter if in theory that situation’s very small/silly

people that speak w authority on the internet are to me dusty dusty people that have no idea what the internet is.. the more you engage w what the internet is.. the more ambivalent it becomes

3 min – i trusted her so much.. that it allowed me to attend to the world around her..  so much of the story is about this kid moving thru space and thru these diff environs..  so i could work on the kids/world around her to make that vivid

let’s do this w school/life.. let go.. listen.. offer resources..  as it could be..

2 convos.. as infra

undisturbed ecosystem


find/follow Bo:

link twitter



his site:

wikipedia small

Robert Pickering Burnham (born August 21, 1990) is an American comedian, singer, songwriter, musician, rapper, actor, director, screenwriter, and poet. He began his performance career as a YouTuber in March 2006, and his videos have been viewed over 228 million times as of June 2018.

Burnham signed a four-year record deal with Comedy Central Records and released his debut EP, Bo Fo Sho, in 2008. His first full-length album, Bo Burnham, was released the following year. In 2010, Burnham’s second album was released, and Words Words Words, his first live comedy special, aired on Comedy Central. His third album and second comedy special, what., was released in 2013 on his YouTube channel and Netflix. Burnham finished first overall in voting in 2011’s Comedy Central Stand-up Showdown. His third stand-up comedy special, Make Happy, was released exclusively on Netflix on June 3, 2016.

In addition to his career as a comedian, Burnham co-created and starred in the MTV television series Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous and released his first book of poetry, Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone, in 2013. His first feature film as writer and director, Eighth Grade, was released in July 2018 to widespread critical acclaim.


nice one Jabiz

Tender Act – Instilling confidence in a 12 year old girl is a tender, intricate and vital act. It is not easy, but everyday we work at it.

resonates w Bo’s talking