The Fall Show’s headliner Bo Burnham introduced his theme of nudity early in the night when he ripped off his neon-red pants to gasps from the crowd, revealing yet another pair of neon-red pants.
By the time Burnham began the core of his act Saturday night, he had stripped down to more conservative jeans and a T-shirt, but his set still centered around the distinct brand of crude puns and songs that has made him a YouTube sensation. Although the Yale College Council-sponsored show drew steady waves of laughter from the roughly 1,200 students in Woolsey Hall, members of the audience often shouted that they could not hear the performance. Katie Donley ’13, YCC events director, attributed the poor sound quality to the “way Woolsey is built.”
“We did our best to adjust the sound system throughout the event, but given the constraints of the space turning the volume up any louder would have simply muffled the sound,” she said.
Still, she said the YCC has heard “great reviews” from students about the show, which received greater attendance than in past years.
While Burnham began his career in his room with a piano, he has since expanded his act to include stand-up, dance and pre-recorded sound bites, to which he mimes or lip-synchs. He performed live renditions of songs that have made him famous, such as “Love Is,” “Oh Bo” and “Have You Ever? (Me Neither),” but he also incorporated material not found in his YouTube videos.
The majority of his profanity-filled act focused on sex, homosexuality and the Holocaust.
“Sleeping Beauty encourages date rape,” he joked. “It’s wrong, you guys.”
In one bit, Burnham poked fun at his attempts to cope with his newfound fame. On a recorded audio track, the voices of an agent, a disappointed fan and a desperate fangirl bombarded him with requests as he pretended to facilitate the argument like a music conductor.
Burnham also delivered a series of jokes on his rejection from Yale, saying that all he wanted to do was “have sex in the library.”
Before Burnham stepped on stage, the two winners of Thursday’s “Last Comic Standing,” Natey Weinstein ’14 and Yael Zinkow ’12, warmed up the audience. Weinstein’s performance was characterized by loud, spontaneous outbursts and frequent non-sequiturs. He began by saying, “This is first venue I’ve performed in where you could fit a brontosaurus,” and then promptly switched to begin discussing another topic. Weinstein also played up his illogical transitions throughout the act.
“Speaking of the YDN, there are a lot more different varieties of Tropicana orange juice,” he said at one point as he switched topics.
Zinkow kept her jokes relevant to Yale, with observations about students’ apathy towards Hurricane Irene’s effect and about difficulties “measuring [her] own drunkenness.”
Three audience members interviewed had mixed reactions about the show. Alicia Ponce Diaz ’15 said Burnham was able to incorporate his YouTube material into jokes that the crowd and Yale students could relate to. But Omar De Los santos ’15 said Burnham departed too much from the style that has earned him fame in the past.
“He seemed normal online,” he said. “He was not normal [at the show]. He screamed a lot at the audience.”
All three complained that the poor quality of the audio system made them unable to understand much of the performances. Chamonix Adams Porter ’15 explained that the acts had “a lot of random yelling and I didn’t know what that was all about.”
Burnham’s next show will place in Boston on Wednesday.