Internet sensation-turned-standup star Bo Burnham might be the Justin Bieber of comedy, though the comparison gives him pause. “He seems much more fit for what he’s doing,” says the 20-year-old comedian, the youngest ever to net an hourlong Comedy Central special, which aired Oct. 16 to more than 700,000 viewers. “Comedy’s always been a man’s game. I felt like more of a boy.”
Burnham was only a teen when his YouTube videos — funny songs shot mostly at home — went viral. The popularity of the clips earned him an invitation to Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, a gig that led to a cameo in Judd Apatow’s “Funny People,” a put pilot deal with MTV, a tour and a self-titled album that sold 10,362 copies its first week and hit No. 38 on Billboard’s top 200.
Coming off a gig at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest and with another album on the way, Burnham says he’s trying to find a more mature voice to fit into the grown-up world of standup. “I can either keep trying to be a kid or I can actually try to be a comic,” says Burnham of his more adult persona. “But if you have good material, that’s what sells.”