- Bo Burnham’s new Emmy-nominated special “Inside” was in theaters for one weekend only.
- Fans of the emotional special turned the moviegoing experience in a full-blown singalong event.
- People on Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit posted videos online of their rowdy theater experiences.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A subset of the American population has spent a large portion of the last two months fixated on Bo Burnham’s Netflix “Inside.”
They’ve memorized the lyrics to most of the 20-song album. They’ve pored over every frame of the special. And this past weekend, many of those fans crowded into movie theaters and got to collectively experience the roller coaster of emotions that comes with Burnham’s latest creative work.
I know because I’m one of them.
Last week, starting on Thursday night, Burnham’s “Inside” played on select screens in North America for one weekend only. And based on my own theater experience (plus plenty of uploaded videos online) – many people broke the cardinal “stay silent” rule of cinema and turned the moviegoing experience into a collective singalong concert.
Burnham himself apparently stopped by at least one Los Angeles movie theater and stood in the doorway of the sold out show. He got to witness the surreality of a theater full of people singing along to the satirical comedy tunes he wrote, like “Bezos I” and “All Eyes On Me.”
“Thank you to everyone who saw [“Inside”] in a theater this past weekend,” he wrote on Instagram. “The response has been surreal and too much to process but being able to see people enjoy it together was incredibly special and meant a lot.”
‘Inside’ wasn’t a normal moviegoing experience because ‘Inside’ isn’t a normal Netflix special
Prior to the special’s release in theaters, fans were debating whether it was appropriate to sing along or not, but the nature of “Inside” and its release in theaters was unique.
The special itself is a musical masterpiece that tells a meta-story about the struggle to make “comedy” in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and an increasingly dire climate change disaster (all without ever mentioning those three things specifically).
Burnham’s self-aware and introspective approach to comedy was deepened with this special, particularly with his ability to bring you into the mental headspace of a character dealing with intense anxiety and depression.
“Inside” is both emotional and packed with incredible dark humor and satire that makes you laugh out loud, in addition to containing a number of extremely catchy songs. So of course, some of the biggest fans of the special would find it hard to resist singing along to it in theaters, even if that technically goes against standard theater etiquette.
Most clearly anticipated the understanding of their fellow “Inside” viewers, because it was presumed that most fans paying money to watch a special they can see anytime on their own TVs or computer were there to enjoy it for the umpteenth time – not actually seeing it for the first time.
People shared videos on Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit showing how theaters around the US were packed with singing fans
-Kevin Douglas (@kevdoogle) July 23, 2021
-JnHQ3 (@jokerNhq3) July 23, 2021
-Enrique Barragan (@enriquebrgn) July 23, 2021
-mae (@tchaikovskyluvr) July 23, 2021
More videos of rowdy theaters were uploaded to the /r/boburnham subreddit.
On TikTok, people uploaded still more theater videos that showed viewers standing up and putting their hands in the air to follow along with Burnham’s lyrical instruction in “All Eyes on Me,” where he tells people, “get your f—— hands up” and “get on out of your seat.”
For many of the diehard “Inside” fans, “All Eyes On Me” is the most powerful song in the special.
As I once put it, listening to “All Eyes On Me” is like having a religious experience with my own mental disorder. It’s no wonder people seeing it on a massive movie-theater screen were drawn to their feet, or moved to put their hands in the air.
In the future, maybe “Inside” will become a limited theatrical event with a more official singalong status. But for now, Burnham’s fans are relegated back to replaying the album on Spotify or singing in their living rooms.