This clip is from a stand-up comedy special named “MAKE HAPPY” by a comedian named Bo Burnham. Bo Burnham is a comedian, musician, singer, songwriter, director, rapper, actor, and poet. And the irony in Bo’s performance is that he was given his lavish life due to Youtube, a social media site. He began his performance career as a YouTuber and his videos have been watched more than 192 million times.
Bo’s extremely clever songs, surprising one liners, and razor sharp wit made him one of my favorite comedians to watch. He has a much deeper meaning in his act than comedy. In a way I think he is right. Not to be one of “THOSE” guys, but social media culture can promote something that is absolutely toxic. It does great thing some of the time, but it also gives rise to a growingly superficial and sometimes even cultish population. Everyone is creating these polished images of their own lives that can be impossible to live up to. We as a people demand to be heard, so the market gave us Instagram and Facebook and other sites like them. Day in and day out you can see friends and family post pictures and rants and blogs about these that nobody is really seeing or listening to, but they will continue to do it for likes and recognition from their peers.
There isn’t really a need to hone a craft and practice for hours, because each ‘like’ or ‘thumbs up’ that we get is a mini dopamine spike in our brain. Causing us to perceive that we are appreciated and important. It is a trick that we know is happening but we fall for it every time. Results from a study done by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and report symptoms of depression. Even our attention spans took a hit with things like Vine and TikTok, giving us 6-30 second video clips and calling it comedy.
However, this is not all of us, there are people that realized that lack of shits given. So we use social media as an outlet, as a personal diary, as a way to network. Because it “why not?” Because at the end of the day the only things that are real is our experiences, our loved ones, and us. What is real is you. Despite the media telling us that we should focus on celebrities and people we will never meet. We are the one’s living our lives, not them. In the words of Bo Burnham, “If you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.”