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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Bo Burnham and Red Bull: A deep-dive thread published on Twitter on 8/14/22

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Welcome back to my August theme of Bo's relationship to certain foods and drinks.


Today, I'll be exploring Bo's beverage of choice throughout his career—Red Bull energy drinks!



While Bo does drink water obviously (mmm...label-less) and has mentioned Coke on a few occasions as well (and jokes about his dad thinking it tastes the same as Pepsi), his lifelong love is the drink that gives you wings.


Let's dive in!


1. Early Years/College Shows


Red Bull is a constant in Bo's career, and it's mentioned in almost every article about his shows:


"He just wanted like a large cheese pizza and a ton of Red Bull,” she said. “Some people come with a list of like 100 things, but he was pretty easy.”

This simple list of needs made Bo relatable to his audience:


“He requested a large cheese pizza and Red Bull to have before the show,” said Leibfreid. “He’s amazingly just like everyone else our age.”

Another article reiterates Bo's youth:


Bo Burnham walked to the front of the stage and picked up the can of Red Bull awaiting him on the stool next to the mic stand. He took a sip and tufts of laughter rose from the audience, because—for a moment—Burnham was an average, stereotypical teen.

He also often had his fave "toy" (per Right Brain) with his drink!


"Armed with his Rubik’s Cube and a Red Bull energy drink, Burnham presented his lyrics in a thought-provoking and dry manner."

[Ed. note: For more info about Bo and Rubik's Cubes, please click here.]


As you can see, Red Bull was an ever-present element of his early stage shows—he even used one as "holy water" to make the sign of the cross before Rant!



And, of course, there's the infamous vid from the same 2009 Portland show where he spills Red Bull "all over the electricals" and is afraid he'll die from it (while also getting in some terrific comebacks to hecklers).



And in 2013, Bo even tweeted about his fave snacks and included the energy drink in his list of junk food.


@TermsofTaylor
i love bagel bites, candy, redbull, chips. i love junk food so it should be easy! NO BANANAS!

Fun fact: I guess Bo really DOES care about Bagel Bites! haha



2. Zach Stone


As Bo continued to grow in his career with more experimental shows and comedy specials, he still had his beloved Red Bull by his side.


Case in point—Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous!



In Bo's 2013 MTV show, there are many instances of Red Bull appearing (albeit with duct tape over the label haha).


We see Zach drinking it after having "the talk" with his parents in the Sex Tape episode.



And in the ep where Zach goes missing, we see Nick's grocery cart is full of "Red Bull and potato skins"


Fun fact: Zach says to himself that Amy HATES Pringles in that scene...guess she can't get her hand inside the can! lol



Speaking of Bo's specials, there are no explicit references to his beverage of choice in his lyrics, but a Collider article compares what.'s Intro to "the chaotic energy of a Red Bull ad" (amazing read, btw, if you enjoy James Acaster as well).


3. Rough Night/Eighth Grade Interviews


After Bo took a hiatus from live comedy, he continued to have drinking Red Bull associated with his on-screen characters.


Case in point—his role as Tobey in Rough Night!



In the movie, Bo plays the best man who convinces the groom to drive to Miami via the "sad astronaut" method—tons of energy drinks and adult diapers.



Here's the best scene in the film (seriously!)



And what is Tobey's energy drink preference for his best friend?


Why, Red Bull of course!



After Rough Night, Bo was on a press tour for his own film and often had a Red Bull for the MANY interviews in which he participated.


One of my favorites is the Team Human podcast with Douglas Rushkoff.



In this incredible interview, Bo discusses social media, the colonization of attention, and the themes inherent to Eighth Grade—truly thought-provoking subjects.


However, I want to focus on another element of the podcast—Bo's Red Bull can.


While Douglas has a glass of water and a coffee cup placed next to him, Bo has chosen to put a can of Red Bull SO close to the edge of the table that my neurotic self kept waiting for him to knock it over with his elbow. haha






Spoiler alert: he doesn't!


And he also has a Red Bull on the table in the Hot Breath podcast—here's a short clip of that interview.


Bo brings up waffles and Red Bull during the H3 podcast too—a must-watch for any Bo fan!



Finally, Bo is described in this way in his phenomenal New Yorker profile:


"Burnham speaks like a college bro, but at an amped-up pace; he rarely finishes one sentence before launching into another, and he often has a Red Bull in his hand."

However, there is one interview that dominates over all the rest—Bo talked to Red Bull (!) about Eighth Grade!



Yes, it's true!


In my research, I found an interview WITH Bo on the energy drink company's official website.


Clearly Bo was marketing his indie film in any way he could, but the synergy of Eighth Grade AND Red Bull is AMAZING!


4. Inside/Outtakes/Rothaniel


Bo's masterpiece includes his favorite energy drink in one scene.


You can clearly see a can of Red Bull sitting on his dresser in "the ruhm" during 30!



And the Inside Outtakes (now available on Netflix!) offer even more instances of the energy drink, almost always sitting on the dresser.


The first time we see a Red Bull is in this quick shot of Bo setting up 30 and Goodbye (he's opening a can and setting it down on a table).





You can see a Red Bull in the FIRST scene in the First Month section, the part where Bo is performing Comedy.



You also can catch a quick glimpse of a can when he briefly sings 1985. (White guy 1985!)



The next appearance is when he says he's trying to make popcorn.


The flashforward shot is LOADED with Easter Eggs (Socko! Water container from Problematic! Disco ball!), so it obviously includes his beloved beverage of choice!




There is also a can on the dresser during Five Years when Bo is arguing about dumplings.


(Hi, Socko!)



Next, we see a Red Bull can when Bo is dancing around in 30—he even helpfully shines his light on the dresser to illuminate it.


Thanks, Bo!




Finally, Bo is seen sneaking a sip of Red Bull as one of the nine Bos in The Dump Zoom call (he's the one that says Inside is "timely in its timelessness" lol).





Most recently, there is this behind-the-scenes shot of Bo editing Rothaniel.


The famous lighting designer, Marc Janowitz, posted this pic on IG of editing necessities for Jerrod Carmichael's special, including a clear image of Bo's fave beverage. haha



In conclusion, Bo adores Red Bull and incorporates it into many of his specials as well as in everyday life.


In fact, here are some pics of Bo with the energy drink in hand backstage and in public (a Five Below, perhaps?).






And, as he says in this TRL interview (despite the weird captioning), he's a "big Bull" guy.


That you CERTAINLY are, Bo!



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