Thursday, February 13, 2014

#CBR6 Review #05 - Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone by Bo Burnham

If I had to summarize my feelings for this book in one sentence, it would read something like, “This is so silly, but I love it!” In all honesty, I don’t know why I had never heard of Bo Burnham until recently, and I must say that although he is a little ridiculous and random, I find his brand of comedy to be extremely amusing.

Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone is a short book of poems with accompanying drawings by Chance Bone; the setup sort of reminds me of Demetri Martin’s writings at times, though with differing comedic sensibilities. Many of the poems come from Bo Burnham’s various standup routines, which are always a little scatter-brained, yet enjoyable.

For the most part, the poems found in Egghead are short, random, and ultimately very clever. Some, I might even call rather profound, or at the very least, quite sweet. An example of such is the poem entitled “Gypsy” which reads:

“On Wednesday morning, clear and calm
I went to Astor Place
and had a Gypsy read my palm
or maybe just my face.

She said my heart was heavy
and my head was stuffed with lies.
But things like that weren’t on my hand
they hid behind my eyes.

The room is dull and dank and cold
but at least I have a hand to hold.”

On the other side of the spectrum, many of the poems presented are just plain absurd and juvenile. And yet… I can’t help but laugh at them. For example:

“duh, duh, duh, duh,
duh, duh, duh, duh,
DUM! DUM!
ROLLERSNAKES!

duh, duh, duh, duh,
duh, duh, duh, duh,
DUM! DUM!
ROLLERSNAKES!”

Generally speaking, however, there is a wit to these short, stand-alone writings, and the drawings that go with the poems are just as ridiculous, yet fit so well with the tone and words that they accompany. Every now and again there is a crassness to the poems, but it is typically utilized in a comedic or meaningful way, so as not to seem like the explicit language is just being thrown in there for the sake of it (though every now and again, maybe it is).

I can definitely see why some people might not like this book, as the humor is not for everyone. But I myself enjoy it, and happen to like reading little books of poems every now and again, between all the other academic or typical novel reading that I get up to most of the time.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read group blog]

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