Bo Burnham is a comedy prodigy. Not like the old dial-up computer service Prodigy, with its garishly colored message boards and bizarre games, but like a child prodigy in the manner of Mozart (but with a bit more profanity and less powdered wigs). Bo released his first comedy album online in 2008 at the age of eighteen, and his career and skills have been soaring ever since. So when I find out that Bo had written a book, Egghead, or You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone, I eagerly checked it out from the library, wondering exactly what sort of approach the YouTube video star took to bring his comedy style to the printed page. I was not expecting a book of poetry.
The comparison to Shel Silverstein is inevitable, given that it is a book of humor poems accompanied by drawings (by artist Chance Bone); Bo even cites Shel in the acknowledgments. Amazingly, however, the comparison is apt (though fans of The Giving Tree be warned, you probably do not want your children reading Egghead). Egghead has an excellent mix of poems that are wickedly funny, surprisingly touching, and absolutely bizarre. To demonstrate, here's just one of the poems from the book:
I bought a box of wooden soldiers.
I bought them from the store.
And now a hundred tiny soldiers
guard my bedroom floor.
So if you're a scary monster-thing
who wants to go to war,
my bedroom door is open.
I'm not frightened anymore.
Tim @ Central