top of page
  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Bo Burnham and Breakfast Cereal: A deep-dive thread published on Twitter on 8/29/22

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

What's up, Insiders! Welcome back to another thread!

Today's topic will be one of childhood nostalgia—sugary breakfast cereals!

Bo has been incorporating references to the American breakfast staple since he began uploading his YouTube videos, and the thread of "sugary cereals" runs through many of his works.

Let's dive in!

1. Childhood/YouTube

The only mention of cereal that I could locate in Bo's interviews is this one from Teen Vogue about Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous.

In the article, Bo says the following about kids idolizing celebs:

I remember being superyoung, like nine or ten years old, and thinking, "Man, I wonder what famous people eat for breakfast. They must have some special kind of cereal!" My mind was so warped by the idea of fame.

Once Bo started on YouTube in 2006, he began to add cereal jokes in his lyrics. For example, one of my favorite puns is the Life cereal one in 3.14 Apple Pi.

I took my cereal, stabbed it open with a knife/Snorted that shit and I got high on Life

And another early video on Bo's YT channel that is chock-full of cereal references is Rehab Center for Fictional Characters.

In this fantastic song, Bo switches between 5 (!) different characters, all with different voices and demeanors.

The cereal jokes kick in with the leprechaun named Patrick telling his tale of woe (his wife's getting gangbanged by the Rice Krispies guys).

Next, one of the five characters Bo inhabits in the song is a world-famous cereal mascot: Tony the Tiger!

Tony's verse:

Every day I wake up/I get to work late/My boss says, "Hey, what's up?"/I say that "I'm grrrr...owing tired of this shit"

The kids they laugh cuz I'm a sensitive cat/"Big pussy!"...I can't argue with that

If another kid gives me Frosted Flakes/I swear on my life, I'll eat his parents

And the very end of the song has another hilarious callback to Patrick's wife:

Oh, Snap! Crackle and Pop/Cuz they banged your wife!

2. what./Zach Stone

There are no references to cereal in Words Words Words that I could find (please let me know if I'm mistaken), but what. has one of my absolute favorites—We Think We Know You!

In the finale of Bo's second hourlong special, he does the voices of three characters: an old classmate, a Hollywood agent, and a friend of a friend.

The Hollywood agent belittles Bo's act and then suggests that he should "cater more heavily" to his young fans.

How? By writing songs about "Twitter, or sugary cereals, or Razor scooters...relate to them."

You can tell from Bo's act that he's heard these sorts of suggestions to make his work more palatable to the masses—but hey! Looks like he did end up making a Twitter song of sorts.

Zach Stone, on the other hand, is ALL about eating breakfast, especially cereal (albeit the box is covered with duct tape so they don't have licensing issues lol).

Here's Zach with a bowl in front of him (likely containing cereal) pointing out that college isn't for everyone (true for Bo in real life as well).

And there's a clear example of Bo eating cereal in the opening credits sequence for Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Scary. (how scary? Very)

Finally, Zach is shown knocking over his brother Andy's cereal in Zach Stone Is Gonna Go Be a Hero (which is clearly Froot Loops based on the spilled food).

Another place where cereal pops up is in Bo's Vines.

One of his most famous 7-second videos is the Seven one (What's in the fucking box? It's uh...Froot Loops.)

And cereal plays a crucial role in this Kix Vine—a new box of kicks! (Bo really loves a good pun lol)

Bo also wrote a very scary tweet about cereal in October 2013.

You pour a bowl of cereal....your dog dies the following year....coincidence? #scarytweets

And another tweet griping about Lucky Charms changing its look.

3. Make Happy/8

Bo's final special before his hiatus from comedy has a reference to cereal too!

When Bo talks about giving his money to a homeless person instead of buying equipment, he clearly mimes eating a bowl of cereal and then says, "Not today, nah. I'll do it tomorrow."

In addition to his own works, Bo's good friend Jerrod Carmichael LOVES cereal, and it plays a substantial role in his second comedy special 8 (directed by Bo, their first of MANY collabs).

In the special, Jerrod discusses how he doesn't champion a cause, such as saving the tigers.

Like Bo's early YT song, Jerrod focuses on Tony the Tiger as a generational reference—

"Mommy, who's that on the Frosted Flakes box?"

"That's no longer our concern, son"

And Jerrod has a whole bit about how poor he was growing up (his breakfast came in a brown box that said CEREAL) and how he buys and eats so much cereal now you would think a teacher had told him he'd NEVER eat cereal! haha

But the most obvious cereal reference isn't in the special at all...

Jerrod had a special cereal bar for the premiere of 8!

Yes, it's true!

Here's an article about the cereal bar with some great pics of Jerrod, Bo, and even Tyler, the Creator and Usher.

As you can see, there were many cereals available (including Life, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Cap'n Crunch, and Honey Bunches of Oats among other name brands).

And Bo obviously grabbed a bowl while attending the premiere!

4. Promising Young Woman

While there are no explicit references to cereal in Eighth Grade (correct me if I'm wrong!), Bo's large role as Carey Mulligan's love interest in PYW provides yet another example of Bo eating cereal.

(Artwork by Nikos Bogris)

In the film, Bo's character Ryan quickly falls in love with Carey's character Cassie.

During the amazing pharmacy sing-along/rom-com montage, we see Bo eating from a bowl on his bed and discussing with Cassie how to use a spoon in a cute manner.

Now, I know what you might be thinking—he talks about eating yogurt in that scene! How do you know it's cereal?

First, there is definitely cereal on that spoon (looks like Cheerios), so it's not just yogurt.

Second, Emerald Fennell's script explicitly says it:

Pt. 3: RYAN and CASSIE eating cereal, talking.

I rest my case! ;)

5. Inside/Inside Outtakes

Finally, Bo's masterpiece offers two more instances of Bo eating cereal.

In White Woman's Instagram, we see Bo wrapped up in sheets, which look like a wedding gown, posing with a spoon near his mouth.

And another example of him eating cereal appears in his montage of "getting up, sitting down, going back to work" near the end of the film.

Notice the orange bowl—could it be the same as the one from the 8 premiere? Hmm...

Whether it's the exact same one or just a bowl that happens to look similar, that particular orange bowl does make an appearance in the Outtakes in the video for Five Years.

As you can see during the dumpling scene, the "girlfriend" character is eating from the same orange bowl!

Thanks for reading this deep-dive thread!

What are your favorite breakfast cereals?

I have a great fondness for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (SO addictive!), but I'll eat basically any type as long as it's sweet enough!


bottom of page