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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Rothaniel Audience Interview: Anonymous Audience Member

Updated: May 26, 2023

For the third taping of the special, I talked to someone who had attended but wished to keep their anonymity for job-related reasons.

The blue lighting and dense fog of the Rothaniel set. Photo courtesy of Nicole Grieco

Here is their story, edited and condensed for clarity purposes.

Bo Burnham Historian: Hi! Thanks for speaking with me about the taping you attended.

Anonymous: Anytime!

BBH: How did you hear about the taping? When did you find out you had won tickets to attend? Did you have any struggles getting to the Blue Note?

A: I heard about the taping through Reddit, where I get all my Bo and Bo-adjacent news (lol!). I live in NYC and love Jerrod’s work, so it seemed like a no-brainer to go!

BBH: Nice. Yeah, living in New York definitely has its perks! Haha

Before the taping, either in the announcement you heard about it from or some sort of pre-show email, did they explain how to dress? How to behave?

A: It was pretty vague, just that it was Jerrod’s new special and that the dress code was something to the effect of ‘post-pandemic night out in NYC’ which I thought was funny, given it was very much peak pandemic night out in NYC.

It was the first show of any kind I went to without wearing a mask which felt…very weird in winter of 2022 in NYC, but anything for JC and Bobby.

BBH: Aah! "Bobby"...that killed me when Jerrod called him that during the show I attended.

Agreed on the pandemic mask thing. We were crammed into the Blue Note too, so it's no surprise someone got COVID-19 (Poor Bo!).

Have you watched the special? Do you think it captured the atmosphere of the live performance?

A: I watched it the day it was released, I was so excited to see how it came out! I thought it really did capture the feeling of being there. Bo’s eye for editing really did a lot of the work to blend multiple shows together. I think that’s something that stood out to me when watching—there was a bunch of material that wasn’t a part of the taping I went to and to see how seamlessly it all came together was very cool.

BBH: Absolutely! Bo is an incredible director and editor.

During the end of the special, where there weren't as many laughs, did it play like that in the room?

A: It definitely did. The taping I attended seems to have been one of the more somber of them, it was a little more monologue than joke-y, if that makes sense.

BBH: Sure, I get your point!

What was the Q&A like? Did they give you any direction? Did the Q&A questions go into the special?

A: It was pretty organic, if I remember correctly it was kind of just Jerrod asking the crowd (and Bo encouraging him to do so) what they thought and people just sort of piping up.

BBH: Interesting. Mine was more structured in that we were told to ask Jerrod any questions we had. Crazy!

Any other thoughts about the vibe in the room? Any fond memories?

A: I think my favorite memories were a lot of the BTS elements. I was seated pretty quickly and loved watching Bo float around the room, checking his cameras, etc. At the end, after the performance, Bo and Jerrod had some exchanges over the God mic—they affectionately referred to each other as ‘Rod’ and ‘Bobby’ (which I simply could not love more and use constantly myself.) Bo directed him over the mic, gave him a few extra things to do— encouraged more chatting with the audience in a casual way, he had him run the name reveal with a few different timings/paused and they had a few exchanges I wish I could remember but I was so enamored by the whole process. And at the end, when Bo thanked the audience for coming, some girl near me/where Bo was up the stairs yelled back ‘thank you, Bobby!’…unclear if she knew who Bobby was but I think of her often, I hope she’s doing great.

BBH: So do I, and I'd love to interview her as well! lol

Did you see/meet any of the famous people at the taping (Jerrod, Bo, Lorene)? What was your experience?

A: It was funny…I was in a bit of a post-show stupor and was on the phone with a friend when I realized I was standing right next to Bo, Lorene, and a group of what appeared to be their friends across from the club.

Didn’t want to bother them but exchanged a knowing smile with Bo, which was enough for me before getting on the subway!

Photo of Bo and Lorene courtesy of Anonymous

BBH: Amazing. Bo looks so happy in that shot, and Lorene looks great! He was pretty tired when I saw him the night before (understandably so).

Do you remember any jokes that were cut from the final special? Any specific questions during the Q&A?

A: I don’t remember anything that was cut other than some of the narrative about his family history but it was not light or fun, so they probably felt they had enough of that!

BBH: Understood. Final question: Are you visible or audible in the final version of the special on HBO?

A: I am thankfully only fully in shadow when on screen in this special, but just to have been seen by Bo’s cameras…what a treat!

BBH: Thanks so much for participating in this interview!

A: No problem!

For more interviews from Rothaniel audience members, please see the aggregate post here.

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