Bo Burnham on creating comedy from a life of growing up online and his new film Eighth Grade
Bo Burnham was famous by the time he was in high school. He was one of the first self-made YouTube stars with satirical songs racking up millions of views, which launched him into an arena-filling stand-up comedy career. But he left it all behind a few years ago to focus on writing and directing his first feature film, Eighth Grade.
q guest host Ali Hassan talks to Bo Burnham about changing directions, and creating a film that's getting rave reviews for its sensitive and sharply-observed portrait of early adolescence. "I think the way we remember that age isn't the same as it was to be that age," says Burnham. "The hope is just to reflect the subjective experience of this kid, not to view it through the lens of adults looking back. ... You know that a regular day to a kid feels like life and death. So can we take a regular day and make it feel that intense, make it feel that visceral?"
As for the decision to leave stand-up comedy to pursue a career in filmmaking, Burnham says, "I started when I was 16. Now I'm 27, so I'm at a certain point where I had to take inventory of things, like I've been doing stand up for 10 years, it's something I started when I was 16. Is this really what I'd want to do if I started fresh right now?"
While now might not feel like the right time for Burnham to do stand-up comedy, he says that won't be the case forever. "I would love to get up there and do it again. I would love to, if the idea's right," he says.
— Produced by Chris Trowbridge