Bo Burnham is an American comedian, singer, musician, actor, filmmaker, and poet who was born on August 21, 1990. He began his YouTube career in 2006, and his channel now has over three million subscribers. “Make Happy,” his stand-up comedy special, was released exclusively on Netflix in 2016. Burnham co-created and starred in the M.T.V. mockumentary “Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous” in 2013. “Inside,” his fourth Netflix special, was nominated for six Creative Arts Emmy Awards. It received three nominations for music direction and two nominations for songwriting. Let’s celebrate his special day here.
Robert Pickering “Bo” Burnham was born on August 21, 1990, in Hamilton, Massachusetts, to hospice nurse Patricia Burnham and construction company owner Scott Burnham. His mother’s work was featured on “This American Life,” in a 2014 episode, for which she was interviewed. He has an older sister, Samm, and an older brother, Pete, both of whom work for the family’s construction company.
Burnham graduated in 2008 from St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts, where he was on the honor roll and was involved in theater and the campus ministry program. He was accepted to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to study experimental theater, but he deferred his admission for a year to pursue a career in comedy — he never returned.
A friend of Burnham’s suggested that he record himself singing his songs in his bedroom and upload them on YouTube. When the link to his YouTube video was shared on break.com, his song ‘My Whole Family’ quickly became popular.
Burnham’s online audience grew as he continued to release self-described ‘pubescent musical comedy’ songs and videos. At the age of 17, he signed a record deal with Comedy Central, making him the network’s youngest-ever signee. On June 17, 2008, he released his first E.P., “Bo fo Sho,” an online-only album. On March 10, 2009, Burnham’s debut full-length album was released. He raps about class, race, gender, sexuality, sex, and religion, among other topics.
On March 3, 2009, 15 Westminster College students demonstrated in opposition to his concert. In May 2009, viral marketing began for “Funny People.” Burnham finished in first place at the “Comedy Central Stand-up Showdown.” At the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Burnham was nominated for Best Comedy Show.
On June 3, 2016, his third special, “Make Happy,” was released. Burnham’s first feature film, “Eighth Grade,” was both written and directed by him. In addition, he has directed H.B.O. and Netflix comedy specials, and he co-starred in “Promising Young Woman” with Carey Mulligan in 2019. Burnham was cast in an untitled Los Angeles Lakers project, as Larry Bird, in March 2021.
Burnham graduates from St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Burnham signs a four-year record deal with Comedy Central Records after a performance in London for Comedy Central's “The World Stands Up,” making him the youngest person to do so at the age of 17.
Burnham tapes his first one-hour stand-up special, “Words Words Words,” for Comedy Central, from the House of Blues in Boston.
Burnham co-writes, produces, and stars in the American comedy sitcom "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous," with Dan Lagana, Luke Liacos, and Dave Becky.
"Eighth Grade," Burnham's first feature film, is produced and distributed by A24 and premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.
The actor appears with Carey Mulligan in Emerald Fennell's Black comedy revenge thriller “Promising Young Woman,” portraying Ryan Cooper, a pediatric surgeon and Cassandra Thomas' love interest.
Why We Love Bo Burnham
He’s a dog lover
Burnham may not have children, but that doesn't mean he hasn't become a father in his own right. He's the proud owner of two adorable dogs.
He advocates for social justice
Burnham has always wanted to use his platform to raise awareness for various causes and projects. He has recently expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
He donates to charity
Burnham frequently donates a portion of the proceeds from his shows to charity. He's taken part in a few "Hilarity for Charity" events, where proceeds benefit charities such as the Alzheimer's Association. He even donated all the proceeds from a Boston show, in April 2013, to One Fund Boston, a charity that helps victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
5 Surprising Facts
He started his YouTube channel at 15
Bo Burnham posted his first YouTube video, “My Whole Family…,” on December 21, 2006, and it has over 11.8 million views and counting.
He is also a published poet
Burnham wrote and published a collection of poems titled “Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone.”
He suffers from anxiety and panic attacks
Burnham revealed in the song ‘Hands Up (Eyes on Me),’ in his latest special, that he took an indefinite hiatus from stand-up due to severe panic attacks while onstage.
He was in “Parks and Recreation”
Burnham appeared as Chipp McCapp, a super-American country singer, on an episode in the American sitcom "Parks and Recreation."
He directed Chris Rock's “Tamborine”
In an interview with “Vulture,” Burnham revealed that Rock reached out to him after seeing his work with Jerrod Carmichael's “8.”
Bo Burnham FAQs
Why did Bo Burnham retire?
Burnham retired because of the internet, which provided him with a career but also fostered a damaging anxiety disorder, prompting him to resign.
Did Bo Burnham plan on becoming a comedian?
Burnham had no intention of becoming a comedian. His rise to fame began with his writing a few amusing songs for his older brother and uploading them to YouTube.
Why is Bo Burnham not on Spotify anymore?
Burnham’s songs and albums were removed from Spotify due to licensing issues, similar to what happened with Kevin Hart.
Bo Burnham’s birthday dates