Robert "Bo" Burnham (born August 21, 1990 (1990-08-21)) is an American comedian, singer-songwriter, musician, actor, and Internet celebrity. Writing comedic and satirical songs with a politically incorrect slant, his YouTube videos have received more than 60.3 million views as of April 2010[update]. His first EP—Bo Fo Sho—was released in June 2008 by Comedy Central Records, and his first full-length self titled album was released by the same label in March 2009. On January 31, 2010 it was announced that Burnham finished #2 overall in voting in 2010's Comedy Central Stand-up Showdown.
Personal life Edit
Bo Burnham was born the youngest of three on August 21, 1990 to Patricia and Scott Burnham.
In February 2008, Patricia was a staff nurse at Bo's school, and Scott owned a North Shore, Massachusetts construction company. Their two older children, Pete and Samm, were concurrently enrolled in their third and second years at Cornell University and Suffolk Law School, respectively.
Bo attended the all-boys' Catholic high school, St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts, where he was on the school honor roll and was involved in theatre and the campus ministry program. The school's assistant principal, Wendy Olson, remarked in a February 2008 interview that while "[t]he Bo on YouTube is not the Bo we see around here, no one at St. John's is surprised at his creativity or that he's pursuing his dream, which is to make a name for himself." Burnham graduated from St. John's in Spring 2008.
Burnham applied to New York University (NYU), University of Southern California (USC), and Yale University, and was accepted to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Although expected to begin attending in Autumn 2008, he deferred his enrollment for a year to focus on his burgeoning media career. Burnham later related that his first year on tour while friends had gone to college made him "[want] to fucking die. I'd be on the road, in South Dakota, looking on Facebook at all my friends at parties."
As of August 2010[update] Burnham was reported to be dating a girl from "a nearby suburban town".
Burnham was performing skits ("Bo Shows") in his home by age three, and grew up listening to boomer-generation comedians like George Carlin and Richard Pryor.
As detailed by Burnham himself, 2006 was the beginning of what would become his musical comedy career. Rehearsing a play at St. John's that summer, Burnham began writing songs about teenage angst and debuting them to his fellow high school thespians. He then videotaped himself performing two songs and posted them to the video-sharing website YouTube in December 2006, so that his older brother Pete could watch them from college. While response to his videos on YouTube ("My Whole Family... " and "My 'little' secret...") was initially unexceptional, when they were copied to Break.com they became an overnight sensation, with traffic to his videos multiplying over 111 times.
Accompanying himself on guitar or electric piano, Burnham continued to release self-described "pubescent musical comedy" songs and videos online as his fame and recognition grew. Described by The Boston Globe's Joseph P. Kahn as "simultaneously wholesome and disturbing, intimate in a folksy-creepy sort of way," Burnham wrote and released R-rated songs about white supremacy, Helen Keller's disabilities, homosexuality, and more. All of Burnham's home-released videos were self-recorded in and around his family's home in Hamilton, Massachusetts, most in his bedroom. Occasionally jokingly addressing his audience in his videos, ("Hello, Internet pedophiles,") Burnham rarely changes expression or camera angle while performing—simply setting the video camera on a stack of books. Speaking with The A.V. Club in 2009, Burnham expressed his intent to give his productions a "do-it-yourself [feel], almost like voyeurism".
In Autumn 2007, Douglas Edley, talent agent from The Gersh Agency, had Burnham recommended to him by his assistant. The next day Edley called Burnham and told him: "I gotta represent you." Said Edley in a February 2008 telephone interview: "He's definitely the youngest comedian I've worked with - he was getting ready for his SATs when I called - but the quality of his writing is amazing." It was this call from Edley—whom Burnham had initially thought to be "a very advanced Internet predator"—that was Burnham's wake-up call as to his potential professional success. In addition to Burnham, Edley also represents several top-tier comedians, including Drew Carey and Dave Chappelle.