An Interview with Dylan Case, Creator of the Incredible Insider Special
Updated: Sep 23
It's Bo's 33rd birthday today (Congrats, Bo!), so while he's living it up with friends and family, I thought it would be fun to do a big Bo-related interview to celebrate the big day.
And this interview really reminds me of the first one I ever did as the Bo Burnham Historian—an incredibly detailed and hilarious parody of Bo's masterpiece called Insider.
Its creator, Dylan Case, took one and a half years to make this amazing special, and the video has over 5K views despite only being officially uploaded on August 11!
After seeing the trailer posted on Reddit, I had initially tried to reach out to Dylan but he didn't reply.
So I contacted him AGAIN on Reddit when the special premiered, and this time we were able to connect successfully (yay!).
Dylan's parody is masterful, and he wrote, sang, played the instruments, filmed, directed, edited...he did EVERYTHING for Insider on his own (well, he did have some support that we go into in the questions below).
Plus, he saw Bo perform LIVE at the Largo on multiple occasions (I'm so jealous...I have only ever seen him in person as a stressed-out director! haha).
Amazing lineup here for Nick Kroll and Friends: Nick, Bo, Jerrod Carmichael, Reggie Watts, and someone I can't identify (please let me know who this is—Google search just sent me back to my site! Haha)
Anyway, Dylan is a peach, and we had a wonderful discussion about his non-song bits, his outrageous Charles Branson shirt, and what he's working on in terms of musical comedy in the future.
Here is my interview with Dylan, which has been edited and condensed for clarity purposes.
Stand-Up Comedy Historian: Hi, Dylan! Thanks for contacting me directly on Reddit. I don't know what the issue was, but I'm happy we can chat about your impressive project and how you made it.
Dylan: No problem! I'm glad we got it sorted out.
So, first thing's first. Can you please provide your background and what you'd studied in school?
Dylan: I'm Dylan. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, specifically the Westwood area, and I never really left LA. The only exception being the four (okay fine 4.5 years) I went to UC Berkeley, where I studied Philosophy...yeah, not the most practical choice in the world, but it was basically a fall back after I couldn't hack it in 8 AM quantum mechanics, thus ruining my initial plan to major in Physics.
After philosophy, I got into audio engineering and enjoyed an approximately 7-year career doing that, before pivoting my career and taking a data science bootcamp in 2019. Now, I’m a 35-year-old data scientist going through something between a quarter life and a midlife crisis trying to pivot into musical comedy.
SUCH: Wow, you really do have a LOT of similarities to Bo! He legitimately wanted to be a physicist in high school haha.
Have you always had an interest in comedy and wanted to be a comedian? What made you want to explore that form of expression in particular with your project?
Dylan: I think, deep down in places I wouldn't admit to myself for a long time, I've always had an interest in comedy, making people laugh, and maybe even being a comedian. But I also had and still have a lot of stage fright around the idea of getting in front of people live.
So I never actually did anything to try to pursue comedy, as I didn't really see it as a possibility. But then once I saw Inside, it felt like Bo had just given me the secret recipe for how to do comedy, but not have to perform live. And that's when Insider was born.
SUCH: Yes, I felt the same way about writing! I had always discounted my ability, but Inside made me want to write...A TON...about Bo and his masterpiece. He has definitely inspired a lot of people to explore their creativity!
So when did you first discover Bo and his works? Are you a longtime fan or a newer one because of Inside?
Dylan: I first discovered Bo somewhat randomly, running into his special what. on Netflix not long after it came out, so probably early 2014.
Immediately I was hooked—I loved the songs, the creativity, and freedom of it. Just the way he took the typical stand-up comedy show with just a microphone and talking, and said "no, I'm gonna do whatever I want up here," from bringing up a piano, to choreographed lighting and prerecorded audio, reading poetry, etc.
It all added to a feeling that calling it a stand-up special didn't quite do it justice, and I loved it.
SUCH: Yes, that's exactly how I felt when watching Make Happy in 2019. This wasn't your standard stand-up special—this was ART!
Bo's tweet about filming Make Happy with co-director Chris Storer included this behind-the-scenes shot of the taping
Speaking of great specials, what compelled you to create Insider? When did you get started, and how long did it take to complete? And what software/tools do you use for filming/editing?
Dylan: I’d say it was a combination of things. As I'd mentioned before, Inside was the first time I watched a Bo special and thought to myself, “Wait, no audience, no live show, just a room, a camera, and silly songs, and jokes? I might be able to do that.”
So I began exploring writing comedy songs, and something sort of incredible happened. For years, I had struggled with finishing songs. Usually I’d have no trouble getting an idea started, but then self-doubt would creep in.
I’d keep searching for the perfect melody or the perfect chords, get frustrated, and abandon the song, believing it just wasn’t good enough.
With comedy songs, the music is in some ways secondary to telling the joke or the story, so I didn’t need to find the perfect chords or melody, I just needed to find music that could help support the joke.
And with that small shift, I started finishing songs for the first time in my life, and I couldn’t let that go, so I decided to continue and make Insider.
I got started in January of 2022, and I was effectively done by June of 2023. So a solid year and a half.
I shot with a black magic pocket cinema 4k, great camera, and a lot more affordable than the camera Bo shot with (though I did explore potentially purchasing the camera he used).
Editing was done in Adobe Premiere, the music was all done in Ableton Live, and the final post-production audio mix was done in Pro Tools. Thankfully, I was already very familiar with Pro Tools and Ableton from my time as an audio engineer. Premiere took a little more getting used to, as I didn't have a ton of video editing experience, but I got the hang of it by the end.
SUCH: Yeah, it sounds like you had all the tools you needed (no pun intended!), but you needed the self-confidence to get the project off the ground. And I'd say you're being a former audio engineer really helped out!
My first interview for my website was with Sean Himmelberg who created a brilliant spoof of Inside in 2022. Did you ever see that video? Like yours, he matched many elements to the original but also made the spoof his own by including original items and accessories.
Dylan: I hadn't seen Still Inside until your comment about Insider being one of the best Inside spoofs since Still Inside, so of course that piqued my curiosity and I went and watched it.
It's very well done, my first impression is that he went for a much stronger visual match than I did.
I went into Insider knowing that film/cinematography-wise I would never be able to compete with Bo. I've never filmed anything in my life, and Bo has directed feature films. [Ed. note: Bo has only one feature film under his belt unless you count Inside as a film!]
So visually I knew Insider wasn't going to hold up to Inside, but I leaned into my strengths on the more music and audio side of things.
My guess is Sean comes from more of a film background [Ed. note: Sean is a musician currently, but he does want to go into filmmaking!] and did a great job really matching the lighting and feel of a lot of Bo's shots.
And the fact that he looks like Bo made leaning into the visual/film side make so much sense.
SUCH: Oh, definitely! And I still rock out to the songs in his clever spoof and Panoramic.
So back to Insider. How did you get others involved with your project? I'd noticed you had listed a bunch of people at the end of your video. Did they help you from the beginning, or did you enlist more experienced individuals to help you when you were struggling?
Dylan: Getting others involved happened fairly organically. The first people involved were my longtime music/singing coaches Ben Cohen and Andrea Wiseman.
I had been doing weekly lessons with them for several years, primarily working on vocal training by way of cover songs. With Insider, we just sort of shifted to weekly sessions on the project.
I’d get feedback on songs as I wrote them, tips for vocal performance specific to each song, and then production and mix advice once we got there in the process. They truly had so much to do with Insider turning out as well as it did, or conversely, they’re largely to blame for anyone that didn’t like Insider ;)
Next, having done nothing in film or performance before, I had to get help from my friends. Max Schulman has been my best friend since middle school and he happens to be an amateur filmmaker, so I asked him for advice.
He was super willing to help, in fact he helped me land on the black magic pocket cinema 4k as a good affordable option, and additionally let me borrow a bunch of lights, a monitor, lavs, you name it.
I also got his opinion on the songs and comedy throughout the process. In fact, he was really the final decider on whether Insider would be called “Insider” or “Inside Too,” as I was waffling between those two titles.
Dylan's hysterical sequel ideas—the silly photoshopped posters made me howl!
Erik Cardona is my great friend who happens to be a screenwriter, and he got involved a little later when I was showing him a cut of about 27 minutes of the show.
His response was amazing, he had never seen Inside, and said he loved Insider so much that he didn’t think I needed to do all the Bo references with the whiteboard, I could just make it my own.
I didn’t totally follow that advice, as you know, the Bo references are still very much in Insider, but that response is what inspired me to sit down in front of the whiteboard and really talk about how I was using Bo as a crutch or permission to make Insider and eventually cast that away and embark on "Dylan’s special."
SUCH: Well I for one am glad you decided to keep the whiteboard bits—they are wonderful and absolutely hilarious!
So two major life events happened while you were filming, correct? First, you had started a new job and had hoped to be done by then (nope!).
Then, your wife gave birth to your beautiful baby boy James (he is seriously SO precious in the little Ewok/bear costume!).
How did you have a newborn AND work on Insider? I remember being so sleep-deprived and tapped out physically with changing diapers and nursing that I could barely take care of myself, let alone be creative enough to write, dance, and sing in a comedy special. You must have terrific stamina to persist through all of that!
Dylan: Yes, I did indeed start a new job and have a baby boy during the creation of Insider, and believe me those things did their very best to derail the special.
I had tried to quit Insider a couple times in the process because it was so hard to fight for time for it and it was putting a strain on my work and my family. But my brain did not cooperate.
Even after I would “quit,” all I could think about was Insider. How to make the songs better, what the next joke was going to be, the next visual gag for one of the music videos, etc. The final song is basically about that cruel irony of this project being a blessing and a curse, “I’ve never been so excited, never felt any worse.”
SUCH: What is your favorite part of Insider? Least favorite? Was there a song or bit that you really wanted to include that just didn't make it in the final cut?
Remember that Bo gifted us with The Inside Outtakes a year later, so you could always follow that example and put out "The Insider Outtakes" in 2024 haha.
Dylan: My favorite part is probably Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
I just remember the magic I felt when I was writing it and it all started to come together. It was the first song in Insider that I felt checked all or at least most of the boxes for me. I thought musically it was pretty good, the comedy worked, and it had some depth and honesty in it. [Ed. note: It's a wonderful metaphor and similar to The Chicken!]
It may not resonate with everyone, but for me I got a lot of confidence from finishing that song and I remember it clearing away a lot of the self-doubt and got me to a point where I was thinking “Hey, maybe I can do this.”
My least favorite is a good, but tough question, because I really tried to cut anything I wasn't really happy with.
But if I had to cut something that made it into Insider, it might be Ewok, it's just such a silly joke. But now that I think about it, that 's also what's kind of fun about it.
It comes right after the dark comedy of Better If You Died and depressed Dylan lamenting having lost touch with a lot of friends, so a joke revolving around the fact that "woke" and "ewok" share the same four letters is kind of a nice release of tension in a way.
There were actually a couple bits I liked that made it pretty far into development, but I just couldn't get working for the final cut.
They also were a little problematic as Bo might put it, as they were a little irreverent towards religion, which I know Bo has done in the past, but I didn't want to risk potentially getting cancelled before I've even begun a career.
However, I suspect you might be right, I may revisit those bits and they might end up in some kind of Insider Outtakes release, so look out for that in 2024!
SUCH: Oh no, Ewok was essential as a break and provided some much-needed levity. Plus, it has awesome misdirection AND an adorable baby. That's win-win in my book!
Yes, please let us know. I saw a few comments on Insider from people hoping you'd include more incisive commentary on popular culture and society (like the obnoxious Twitch streamer), but don't feel obligated to do what anyone else wants except for you. And I'm definitely looking forward to your outtakes!
You also have a lot of special and practical effects in Insider, including having multiple yous dancing simultaneously and interacting with yourself throughout. How did you accomplish that? It looks fantastic in the final version.
Dylan: Yeah, I tried my best to make the visuals as compelling as I could despite my lack of film background.
This shot in Richard Branson reminded me of the creepy smiling Bo in the Outtakes
The multiple me’s wasn’t too challenging from an editing standpoint. I just recorded myself three times with the camera on a tripod and then edited each me on top of the other.
What was more challenging was the dancing, as I’m sure you can see, they’re not always synchronized nor nailing the choreography exactly lol.
But, I now have a newfound respect for TikTok dancers—it’s a lot harder than it looks!
At the end of the day, I think my struggles with the dancing add a little to the comedy anyway. And not to make too many excuses, but I was racing against a scheduled knee surgery, so I didn’t get quite as much practice/rehearsal as I would have liked.
SUCH: Oh geez, knee surgery on top of everything else?! I don't know how you had any energy at all lol.
I really enjoyed the comedy bits that weren't musical as well, like the letter W and the Satan one.
Were these inspired by any certain comics you liked growing up? The W bit reminded me of Gary Gulman recounting state abbreviations, while the Satan one instantly made me think of Flight of the Conchords' ode to Westerns, Stana (since his name is an anagram of "Satan" or a "satanagram.")
Other Bo fans thought it was similar to James Acaster—do you know his comedy? If not, I HIGHLY recommend watching Repertoire on Netflix.
James Acaster in NYC for the Hecklers Welcome tour last November
Dylan: Wow, I love your incredible knowledge of stand-up [Ed. note: Aww, thanks. I love comedy!], even if these similar bits that I hadn’t seen before make me feel a little less original ;)
But I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised that someone else noticed that Santa is an anagram for Satan.
SUCH: I'm glad to introduce you and readers to some of my favorite comedians and their clever wordplay! Flight of the Conchords directly led to me joining Reddit in 2019 haha.
And don't beat yourself up. Your take on Santa wearing red like Satan is entirely new to me, and the W joke is something that always bothered me as a child learning the alphabet. I loved both bits! :)
Speaking of funny words, you clearly have a gift for smart observations, clever wordplay, and misdirection based on your lyrics in the Ewok song and your immaculate rhymes in the Richard Branson song.
Are you a fan of that form of comedy? If so, I'd highly recommend the specials of Demetri Martin, one of my favorites and a master at wordplay.
Demetri's show at Atlantic City right before the pandemic started
Dylan: Thank you for the amazing compliments! I do love observational comedy. I think it’s really fun to point out things we’re so used to seeing every day that upon further inspection don’t make all that much sense. I think language is such a goldmine for that kind of humor [Ed. note: Yes! I love words.].
In fact the genesis for my W sketch came from learning Italian. In Italian W, is actually called doppio vu, which translates to double V. And my native English-speaking brain thought that was so weird, but when I got to thinking about it, I realized double v is probably a much better name for double u.
And yes, I’ve definitely watched a lot of Demetri Martin, I’ve always had a soft spot for his bit about ice at the bottom of a glass.
SUCH: Oh for sure, I LOVE that ice bit: "Hold...hold...NOW!" So hilarious (and true!).
Speaking of Richard Branson, where the hell did you get that eye-catching shirt? It works so perfectly that I kinda wish Bo had one with Bezos' face all over it haha.
Did you have to buy these outfits and accessories, or did you have them around your house? And how much did you end up spending on this entire project, if you don't mind divulging an approximate number? It seems like it was expensive!
Dylan: I got the shirt online here.
I knew I had to have it as soon as I found it, not sure what genius came up with it, but I’ll have to thank them if I get the chance!
I did have to buy a fair amount of the outfits and props, but I also took advantage of anything I happened to already have lying around at home.
I probably ended up spending around $5,000 on the project. The bulk of that being the camera and lenses for around $2,000. Then various props and costumes, a couple hard drives to store the footage, a green screen, some extra audio gear for recording and mixing, etc. So fairly expensive for a passion project, but for a 38 minute short film, definitely pretty cheap (although I’m not factoring in paying myself for my time, so perhaps not a fair comparison to typical short film budgets).
SUCH: Yeah, I hope you recoup some of that money...it sounds like this was a costly project for you. Although it turned out great, so maybe it was all worth it? You certainly have a lot of new fans in the Bo Burnham community.
Are you a musician? It looks like you play the drums, piano, and guitar pretty confidently, so I'm guessing you have some background in music. But if you taught yourself how to play just like Bo did when he was a teenager, that's even more impressive in my mind!
You also have a wonderful singing voice—a triple threat!
Dylan: I suppose at this point I would call myself a musician, but with a healthy dose of impostor syndrome. I was a latecomer to music—my brother had always been the musical one while I was busy playing sports. But in my early twenties, when I started to pursue audio engineering, I started taking piano lessons.
Then over a decade or so of working with music and audio I branched out, learned basic chords and strumming on guitar, revisited the drums (I had briefly taken lessons as a kid), and started taking vocal lessons.
Nothing in music came particularly easy to me, I was not some kind of self-taught super talent by any stretch of the imagination. I just kept “barking up the wrong tree” so to speak (sorry for the awful forced reference), and eventually got to the point I’m at today where I can say I’m a decent musician specializing in piano and voice.
SUCH: That's awesome! Yeah, you definitely appear to be very talented. And I even enjoyed your dancing prowess!
I love that you have chosen to include a holiday song, something Bo has never really tackled in his 16-year career (he does mention Santa in Rehab Center for Fictional Characters, but that's not a very Christmassy song).
What inspired the lyrics and depiction of America's favorite and most lucrative holiday?
I especially enjoyed when you pointed out that mistletoe is a bit rapey (YUP!), like Bo talking about the "rape-y vibes" he's putting out in Pandering.
Dylan: Christmas has always sort of fascinated me, it’s such a weird holiday, at least in its current iteration.
Its origins supposedly go back to Constantine converting the Roman empire to Christianity and the Roman people not wanting to give up their winter festival celebrating the winter solstice (which typically falls on December 21–22).
So they decided to just appropriate the holiday as Jesus’s birthday, despite it not being his actual birthday. So already an odd start, and we haven’t even gotten to how crazy it is that everybody tells children the same made-up story of Santa as if it is real, and literally every single person in their life is in on the lie: their parents, their teachers, maybe an older sibling, aunts, uncles, etc.
And I honestly don’t know if it’s a great lesson to teach children early on, that everyone is capable of lying, or if it is this incredible breach of trust that directly leads to flat earthers and other conspiracy theorists? [Ed. note: Wow, good point. Let's do away with the tooth fairy too!]
So I really wanted to write a song to point out what a weird place we’ve gotten to with Christmas. From Jesus’s birthday to Santa and elves, materialism, lying to children, it’s a crazy holiday!
SUCH: Yes, agreed on all points. I remember learning that fact about Constantine as well in my Religion course at Lafayette College and being blown away! Plus it got me to really question all the parts of Catholicism that bugged me—what else were they lying about, you know? So it simultaneously destroyed my trust in my parents and gave me a newfound appreciation for actually learning religious history and not assuming I knew everything. Very humbling, in my experience.
I'm now agnostic, and my kids know that my ex-husband and I get them their holiday gifts, not a mythical being haha.
Going back to your amazing special.
The medley of all of your songs at the end is incredibly powerful in the same manner as Goodbye. Did you plan for the earlier songs to meld together so well, or was that just a happy coincidence?
It always reminds me of One Day More in Les Miserables, one of my favorite musicals that Bo cleverly referenced in what.
Hello, patient 24602
Dylan: That was definitely a happy accident, and a little bit of minor reworking. For the final medley over the credits/thank yous, I put all the songs in the key of G, which a fair amount were already there or not too far, so it’s not very noticeable, and I changed the chord progression under some of them to match, which also doesn’t change too much musically, since the melodies all remain unchanged.
Though I did have to change the bells in Christmas song, because some of the notes were clashing with the new chords.
SUCH: It sounded fantastic to my ears!
Are there any Easter eggs for observant fans that you had included?
I happened to notice two things that others might have missed: We can see your dog's tail wagging before we know of Willow's existence in Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
The other is that when your baby is crawling on the floor, you can see the jingle bells you will be shaking later in the Christmas song.
Are there any others that you can recall adding in intentionally or even unintentionally?
I also had spotted your clever joke in the final whiteboard gag...how very Bo of you!
What is a Bo Burnham Special?
6) Allude to faltering mental health
7) Bring back the white board to plant seeds of doubt around the sincerity of the "sincere" parts
8) Put sincere in quotes so the seeds blossom into a plant
9) Fuck the plant?
Dylan: Great eye, yes Willow’s tail is in Silly Song, and I thought that was fun so left it in.
And yeah, I’m sure there are a few other shots you can spot props in frame. One of the fun ones that isn’t exactly an easter egg, but was more a blooper I left in, was the part in Pieces of Shit that goes “We could seek the unknown, instead we sit on our phones” and I pull out a phone I’ve been sitting on and then toss it away.
I had practiced tossing it onto a pillow I had on the ground next to me out of frame, but on that particular take you can see the phone actually hits my knee on the way down (not planned) and totally misses the pillow and hits the ground snapping me out of character for a moment.
Dylan's "Oh shit" face when the phone hits his knee
I really enjoyed watching those kinds of moments while editing cause you can see this shift in me when I assume a scene is over or flub a scene and assume it won’t make the final edit.
Going through this process I realized that whenever someone is in front of a camera, it can’t help but be a little bit of an act, but for those brief moments like the end of silly song when I’m taking off the costume, or the whiteboard scene where I cap the pen and say to myself “well that was good for whatever that was” you get a more honest me that in essence doesn’t think he is on camera anymore…if any of that makes any sense.
SUCH: Oh, absolutely. Everyone is always performing in our society—that's what Bo's big rant at the end of Make Happy is all about.
So what's your favorite Bo song? Special? Feel free to name more than one.
Dylan: I’d say my favorite special is probably what. but that’s probably because it was my first introduction to Bo and despite how great his other specials are, you can never get that first-introduction-to-Bo feeling back.
Favorite Bo song is probably All Eyes On Me. It’s just a great song musically, and then it talks about his issues with panic attacks on stage, and I can’t perfectly relate cause I’ve never really performed on stage, but I imagine I would have a panic attack as well haha. So I relate in a hypothetical if I were ever to perform I assume that’s would happen kind of way.
SUCH: Excellent choices! Mine are Make Happy and The Chicken currently. 🐔
So have you ever met Bo in person or seen him perform live?
Dylan: I have never met him in person, but I have seen him live a couple times at the Largo, and those shows were amazing!
SUCH: Hold on here. You've SEEN Bo Burnham at the Largo at the Coronet? The only place he has performed at for years, and you think I'm going to gloss over this fact? Nope!
This one stage is where Phoebe and Bo sang That Funny Feeling together and is where EVERY major comedian works out their material
Tell me EVERYTHING :)
When did you see Bo live (what were the approximate dates)? Who performed with him? Was he part of an "and Friends" group with Anthony Jeselnik or Pete Holmes?
Dylan: Okay, so I was able to find the ticket orders, the first one was:
Pete Holmes Living at Largo
Bo Burnham, Sean Patton, Kyle Kinane, Johnathan Rice & Courtney Marie Andrews
Tue December 16, 2014
8:30 PM (Doors: 7:00 PM)
And the second was:
Pete Holmes Living at Largo
Natasha Leggero, Greg Fitzsimmons, Bo Burnham
Tue January 27, 2015
8:30 PM (Doors: 7:00 PM)
SUCH: Oh wow! So you've seen all of those comics AND Bo? Man, I am jealous.
Everyone knows Pete, the giant Golden Retriever of comedy, and if you've somehow missed out on Bo's episodes of You Made It Weird, check out my list here for the YouTube links.
A photo of Pete holding an umbrella in a Bo fan's yearbook (cavecibum) and a pic of Bo and Pete with Gary Gulman
I remember seeing Natasha and Greg on Comedy Central ALL the time.
Greg's Comedy Central Presents episode was one of my favorites as a teenager, and he's performed with Bo on at least one other occasion (check out Bill Burr and Judd Apatow with them!).
Natasha has appeared on so many hilarious programs like Reno 911!, Burning Love, and Another Period (the third show's amazing cast included two of Bo's good friends, Armen Weitzman—who appeared on the third season of Burning Love as well—and Brett Gelman).
The two on Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous and a pic of Armen and Natasha
Natasha's drunk lady character on Reno 911, and the casts of Burning Love and Another Period—tons of famous comedians on all three shows
Bo and Brett
Fun fact: Anthony Jeselnik and Natasha saw Eighth Grade together and tweeted about it!
Apologies for the X screenshots...I would have grabbed this earlier but didn't realize at the time that the bird app would be no more
Dylan: Yeah, Greg and Natasha were great!
I'm rarely disappointed by the guest comedians at the Largo when it's a night with multiple acts.
And Pete Holmes is so great live. I really think he has this style that doesn't quite translate as well to TV/film, but is so good live.
He just has this incredible energy and delivery when you are in the same room as him, even if his material is sort of on the silly side you can't help but laugh.
SUCH: That doesn't surprise me at all. He seems like an optimistic and sunny person... attributes that are not very common in comedy!
So was Bo unannounced, or did you know going in that he'd be there?
Dylan: I knew he would be there going in, and that was a big part of the draw for me, though I'm also a pretty big Pete Holmes fan.
SUCH: That's so cool. So what bits did he do? Songs? Were there any songs he did that you really enjoyed but the public has never heard of?
Dylan: This was pre-Make Happy, so I recall that he was doing primarily material that ended up in Make Happy. He definitely did Country Song, and I'm pretty sure Straight White Male and maybe Lower Your Expectations. But beyond that, sadly my memory is just not all that able to discern what I saw live those nights and what I've only seen in Make Happy and am now imagining he did live. I don't recall any songs that didn't make it into Make Happy.
SUCH: Oh man, those are some of my favorite Bo songs. You're so lucky to have seen them performed live (especially the piano solo in Straight White Male)!
Netflix, please release a Make Happy album—you will be PRINTING money, trust me
So did Bo seem nervous? How long was his set? Did he record himself?
Dylan: Bo has never seemed even remotely nervous when I've seen him, always had what seemed like a lot of confidence on stage.
I think that's why him describing having panic attacks onstage in All Eyes On Me, was pretty surprising to me. He has so much experience performing and has always seemed cool, calm, and collected live and in videos of his live performances.
His part of the Pete Holmes Living at Largo series was probably around 20–30 minutes each time, and I don't recall anyone recording those sets. But it's certainly possible.
SUCH: Right. I'm asking because Bo was recording himself at unannounced shows post-Make Happy (per PlasticJesters on the Bo subreddit). So it seems he hasn't always done that, but he did after the panic attacks caused him to stop live performances except at the Largo.
Did he race out as soon as he was done performing like he did at Kate? Or did he talk to fans afterward?
Dylan: I didn't hang out after the show, so I honestly don't know if Bo stayed after. I do know that sometimes performers end up at the Largo bar after to hang out, but not sure if Bo was doing that after his shows.
SUCH: That's a totally fair response.
Were there any obnoxious people bothering him? How did he handle it if there were weird or pushy young fans?
Dylan: Definitely no obnoxious fans.
I think Bo and Pete even mentioned at points in their sets how friendly the crowd was and how the Largo is a great intimate venue.
I've been to a few other Largo shows (not with Bo performing) and it's always a great, very respectful crowd that loves to laugh.
Hope this helps a little bit, even though my memory of those nights is not the best!
SUCH: No, this has been very informative. I am hoping to go to the Largo at some point in the future—it's an LA institution!
Please tell me one fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know about. Do you have any special hobbies or interests?
Dylan: One fun fact might be that from middle school through college I was a competitive fencer (Epee), competing in tournaments all over the US. I haven’t picked up a blade in years so a lot of people don’t really know that about me, but I’d love to revisit it some time.
I just saw a video of Greta Gerwig, the director of Barbie, demonstrating some sabre fencing, so that’s always fun to run into fencing out in the wild so to speak, since it’s a very niche sport.
SUCH: Oh, that's VERY cool. Fun fact: Bo's Director of Photography for Rothaniel and Kate was Sam Levy, who was also Greta's DP for her Academy Award-nominated film Lady Bird. And Bo and Greta both have worked with A24!
Greta Gerwig and Sam Levy on the set of Lady Bird...small world!
Greta and Bo with the A24 sign, and Bo is rocking his CAMERA shirt from the Outtakes
What's up next for you? Any future projects in the works?
Dylan: I’m gonna be busy promoting Insider for a while, and learning social media (despite how much I dislike the social media part of the process and the self-promotion of it all).
But I’m definitely already starting to figure out what I want to say in future works. Someone commented on Insider about wanting me to lean a little more into social commentary, having enjoyed the song Attention and its critique of celebrity and the way they compete for and monetize our attention.
So I’m starting to figure out, if I were to go that route, what would I want to say or what I think might be important to say, cause if I don’t think I can add value to the conversation, I will take Bo’s advice and just STFU.
SUCH: Yes, I remember reading that comment. All I can tell you about Bo fans is that they can be a fickle bunch. Just to reiterate, your best bet is to make something that comes from the heart (like your experience with Barking Up the Wrong Tree) and not force yourself to make political songs to appease the masses. Just my two cents from running a Bo-related fan account and website for over two years! :)
How can people best support your work? Do you have any social media you'd like to plug?
Dylan: The best way to support me would be to watch and/or share Insider, or if you’d like to start smaller than 38 minutes, follow me on Instagram or TikTok to see clips from the show and any additional content I might come up with.
[Ed. note: There is an amazing new clip up on Dylan's channel for the whole Barbenheimer phenomenon here. Check it out!]
SUCH: Awesome, thanks for those links.
Well, Dylan, this has been a wonderful chat and, as I said on Reddit and YouTube, I can't wait to see what you'll make next!
Dylan: Thanks so much!