Among the pieces of pop culture entertainment that are explicitly and directly about the emotional fallout of the COVID-19 lockdowns, few are as confrontational, or widely discussed, as Bo Burnham’s Inside. The comedian’s 2021 Netflix special is all about what happened to our collective brains across 2020, delving deep into the anxious solipsism that comes from being trapped in your house with the mirror and not much else. Funny, and occasionally poignant, it’s an ode to all the shit, good and bad, that can happen to the human brain when held in isolation for a prolonged period of time.
So, hey: Who wants to watch it with a bunch of their buddies in a theater?
That’s exactly what you’ll soon (briefly) be able to do, with Netflix announcing that it’s popping Inside into theaters for a single night, on July 22. Now you, too, will be able to crowd together with all your (hopefully vaccinated) friends, shoving popcorn in your virus holes while laughing at Burnham’s aggressive and musical reckoning with himself.
We’ll be honest: We’re not 100 percent sure why this is happening. A single-night engagement means, for example, that Netflix isn’t trying for some kind of Oscars push for the 87-minute special. (You have to keep a film in theaters for a week to qualify, even with the lightened restrictions operating this year in light of the pandemic shutdowns.) Also, there’s the fact that stand-up comedy is usually seen as the domain of television/streaming, rather than theatrical releases; there are a few exceptions, like Eddie Murphy’s Raw and Dangerous, but those are mostly outliers. So, what’s the goal? A brief flurry of ticket sales in lieu of the considerably larger amount Burnham might have made touring? Fostering a sense of comedy community? It’s difficult to parse.
None of which changes the fact of the special’s (very brief) release, though. You can pick up tickets for the one-night showing of Inside here.