August 21, 1990
Hamilton, Massachusetts, United States
PhotosView All (4)
Comedian Bo Burnham's uproarious - and sometimes uncomfortable - comedy songs made him a YouTube sensation while still in his teens, but unlike many of his social media peers, he parlayed the success into a critically acclaimed stand-up comedy career and a well-regarded debut as writer-director on the independent comedy-drama "Eighth Grade" (2018). Born Robert Pickering Burnham on August 21, 1990 in Hamilton, Massachusetts, he was the youngest of three children by construction company owner Scott Burnham and his wife, Patricia, who worked as a nurse. While a student at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Masssachusetts, the teenaged Burnham began writing and performing satirical songs, including "My Whole Family (Thinks I'm Gay)" and "Klan Kookout." Though the topics were decidedly - and deliberately - outrageous and politically incorrect, Burnham's faux-wholesome delivery and button-down appearance, as well as the choice of his own bedroom and family as backdrop, did much to defang the potentially offensive nature of the material. He began posting the songs to YouTube and other social media sites in 2006, where they garnered millions of hits. Their popularity led to a contract with Comedy Central, which yielded his television debut at 18 on a segment of the 2008 special "The World Stands Up" and his self-titled debut comedy album in 2009. Writer-director Judd Apatow soon tapped him to collaborate on a parody of the popular "High School Musical" franchise (Disney Channel, 2004-07), and while the project did not come to fruition, Burhnam made his feature film debut with a cameo in Apatow's "Funny People" (2009). After recording his first one-hour comedy special, "Bo Burnham: Words, Words, Words" (Comedy Central, 2010), Burnham began work on developing a comedy series, "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous" (MTV, 2013); the comedy, about a naïve teenager who sets out to become a celebrity despite his lack of discernable talent, debuted on MTV in 2013 but lasted only a season. Undaunted, Burnham returned to a steady schedule of touring and recording comedy albums and specials, including 2013's what. and 2016's "Bo Burnham: Make Happy" (Netflix), while also expanded his acting resume with supporting roles in the critically acclaimed "The Big Sick" (2017) and "Rough Night" (2017). The following year, he scored a personal and professional triumph by writing and directing "Eighth Grade" (2018). The comedy-drama, inspired by his own teenage years, followed a socially anxious teen (played by Elsie Fisher) as she navigated the emotional upheaval prior to high school through a series of comic advice vlogs. The film earned Burnham an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding First-Time Feature and Writers Guild Award for Best Original Screenplay. The success of the film led to a diverse array of assignments, from writing songs for a "Sesame Street" (PBS/HBO, 1969- ) movie musical to acting in "Promising Young Woman" (2019) an ensemble drama starring Carey Mulligan for director Emerald Fennell ("Killing Eve," BBC America, 2016- ).