Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’: Ecclesiastes for the Internet Age

Jul 20, 2021 by

from The Gospel Coalition:

Bo Burnham may be this secular generation’s closest approximation to the Preacher from Ecclesiastes.

In Ecclesiastes 2, the Preacher searches high and low to find lasting meaning apart from God: in pleasure (v. 1), comedy (v. 2), alcohol (v. 3), sex (v. 8), wisdom (vv. 12–27), and work (vv. 18–23). This wide-reaching search yields no lasting benefit or purpose, only despair (v. 20). Everything under the sun is vanity, a vapor.

In his Netflix comedy special, Inside, Bo Burnham’s task is the same. Written, directed, and filmed by Burnham during the course of a year in a single room—quarantine style—the special is a comprehensive search for meaning in the modern mediated world.

No other comedian or cultural commentator has demonstrated the vanity of the world—specifically the world the internet has wrought—more successfully than Burnham in this special. And no other work of art has so closely followed the pattern of exploration and despair of Ecclesiastes 2.

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