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Comedy on Vine and YouTube: Bo Burnham

Bo Burnham performs during the Second Annual Hilarity For Charity benefiting The Alzheimer's Association at the Avalon on April 25, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.

At the age of 23, Bo Burnham has a list of accomplishments that most comedians would kill for. A Comedy Central stand-up special, appearances on Conan O'Brien's show, a short-lived show on MTV, millions of views on YouTube and hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter.

Now, he’s written a book of Shel Silverstein-esque poems called "Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone."

"It’s just a silly little sort of thing," he says about the book, out October 1. "There’s a certain line between jokes and music and poetry that’s a bit blurred in my mind."

He adds, "If you play it right, you can kind of spread it out into a lot of mediums.”

"It’s sort of poetry in the little Twitter world we have," says Burnham.

Burnham’s no stranger to using new media. He started at the age of 16, posting YouTube videos online.

"I was doing theater in my high school and I started writing sort of silly songs on the piano backstage in summer theater," he says. "I eventually put them online and started getting this little following."

Today, the songs have millions of views, but Burnham says, "Who knows? I’m convinced half of them are bots and the other half are repeats."

He's posted Vine videos on Twitter and remains active on Facebook. "I think they’re all sort of similar little things," he says. "I just like to write and then perform."
Using Vine, we caught Burnham up to no good in our studio...



About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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