Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Mary Valentis

Committee Member

Rae Muhlstock


Bo Burnham’s Inside was filmed by the former YouTube star, stand-up comedian, and director entirely alone in his guest house during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and released on Netflix. The comedy special is a mixture of skits, songs, and monologues loosely stitched together that question the role of comedy, provide a critique of the current socio-cultural moment, and give the viewer a glimpse into Burnham’s mind. Inside and The Inside Outtakes both engage with the themes associated with outbreak narratives and explore current social questions regarding privilege, accountability, consumption, and capitalism. Like other works of comedy, Inside takes a snapshot of the cultural climate while extending the traditions of outbreak narratives into new media forms. Inside spans many genres and media categories, a fulfills multiple roles for both Burnham and the viewer. It is a manifestation of the restlessness of quarantine, a critique of capitalism and the creator economy, a commentary on political and social issues, a realization of privilege, a warning about the power of technology and media, and an exploration of the existential crisis born from these conditions. Inside and The Inside Outtakes exist within a very specific temporal moment, and the interior space Burnham creates allows for an analysis of how cultural changes to comedy, societal movements, the digital age, and the individual are all intertwined. The consideration of how each of these elements relates to each other then allows for an exploration of the potential way forward from the current moment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.