Comedian Bo Burnham filled Zorn Arena with laughter Thursday


Photo by Anna Mateffy

Comedian Bo Burnham performed Thursday in Zorn Arena.

Story by Katy Macek, Currents Editor

Around 5 p.m. Thursday a crowd begin to form in front of Zorn Arena. Students dressed in winter hats, scarves and coats bounced back and forth in anticipation, waiting to claim seats as close to comedian Bo Burnham as they could get.

Morgen Rust, a sophomore at Chippewa Valley Technical College, was among those students with her sister, a student at UW-Eau Claire.

“We had hand warmers in our mittens and boots,” she said. “But we wanted to be in the front.”

And when the students were able to stampede Zorn, Rust and her sister indeed found themselves in the front row on the far right side of the stage.

Rust said she has watched all of Burnham’s shows on YouTube and knows the words to many of his songs. She even has all of his what? show memorized. However, what she loves about Burnham is the way he stands out from other comics.

“He’s more creative than others with his jokes,” she said. “He tries to incorporate music and technology. Like tonight, when we walked in it felt more like a concert.”

She also said she found Burnham to be funny because he related more to people her age. His jokes include things that she can relate to.

Indeed, Burnham opened the performance by welcoming himself to Eau Claire, joking that the name has every vowel but “O” in it. He personalized the performance around the campus, calling out the logo and even bringing Blu the Blugold to the stage at the end.

As for the audience, he made sure to include them, noting all the things the audience shouted back at him and replying to every one. At one point he even complimented the calls.

“Such kind heckles,” he said. “You’re such a kind audience, with your encouraging heckles.”

Comedian Drift Roberts, who recently starred in a film called “Trail of Blood”, opened the evening with a handful of jokes of his own and then handed the cheering crowd to Burnham.

University Activities Commission and concert co-chair member Carrie Biesinger said bringing Burnham to Eau Claire really was the work of the students through UAC’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“We’d heard a lot about (Burnham),” she said. “We sent out a student survey and he was the most popular.”

Biesinger said the booking process went fairly smoothly. He happened to be performing in Green Bay the night before and seemed excited to come to Eau Claire.           

Though Biesinger herself said she only really started getting into Burnham’s work after he was booked, she said she really enjoyed the performance and thought the crowd reacted very positively.