Comedian Bo Burnham advises young artists to quit

“Give up.”

That’s Bo Burnham’s advice to young artists. The 25-year-old comedian, who ironically starred in the MTV series Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous, appeared on Conan Tuesday night without the slightest hint of optimism one might expect from a successful young entertainer.

“The system is rigged against you,” he said. “Your hard work and talent will not pay off.”

Bo went on to say that his success is the result of luck rather than talent.

“I would say don’t take advice from people like me who have gotten very lucky,” he said. “We’re very biased. You know, like Taylor Swift telling you to follow your dreams is like a lottery winner telling you, ‘Liquidize your assets, buy Powerball tickets, it works!’”

Bo wants children to be dreamers, but he says once you’re old enough to have a debit card, it’s time to give up.

Bo Burnham’s most recent comedy special Make Happy is exclusively on Netflix.

What do you think of Bo’s comments? Is he just joking? Or should aspiring artists listen to his advice? ~Yanis Khamsi

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Catrina • June 30, 2016 @ 12:35 AM

    Good for him for telling it like it is. I used to be an actor, did some theatre but could never get on screen – and I had a lot of actor friends who I’d met studying at college or at various classes through the city and some of them got a couple of small roles here and there, but I don’t know one person who made it and some of them were incredibly talented. The people who are famous have actor/director or producer parents, siblings who are famous first and then pull them into the spotlight, or another connection – a friend, a cousin, an uncle… Very few made it because they’re talented and didn’t have any connections. Some slept with studio heads/producers like Harvey Weinstein to get a role (like Blake Lively, who has a father in the business and had already played a lead role in a movie before giving into that creep, but it’s easy to fade away if you don’t keep getting roles). So yes, I think trying for an acting or singing career is the same odds as winning a lottery. It’s very very unlikely you will get in. I mean, just think about all the people who are famous who are following in their parents or siblings footsteps. It’s pretty astounding.

  2. Jessica • June 30, 2016 @ 9:15 AM

    He’s got a point! Making it in the industry without inside connections is close to impossible. I mean, follow your passion if it’s in the film business but know the odds are stacked against you.

  3. Georgia17 • June 30, 2016 @ 9:19 AM

    Don’t listen to him. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, KIDS!

  4. Kelly • June 30, 2016 @ 2:00 PM

    I see his point however, that is just his opinion and he’s entitled to it. People have to have dreams, especially young kids and teens. We need to encourage them to follow their dreams but to also be realistic and to give themselves a time limit so they don’t get discouraged. I know a few people who have become very successful because they followed their dream in the acting industry. They took small jobs and were patient and it paid off.

  5. Terry • June 30, 2016 @ 2:47 PM

    I agree with Catrina – it’s very true. You have to be born into the industry through actor parents & relatives to get in & be any kind of success. Yes, Michael Douglas is a superb actor but he only got roles because of all the years his father starred. I don’t think acting is a profession that should be “inherited”. People should not OWN their jobs & be able to hand it down to their children simply because they had some lucky breaks in the acting world. If you are a child of Liz Taylor does that guarantee that you are talented & skilled for the acting profession? Hundreds of people of all ages study very hard and attend acting school and may very well be more talented than an actor’s child but they’re never given a chance after they graduate. People are hired for roles in Hollywood merely because of what their last name is……who their parents are. Not fair. Same with the position of President of the United States….all the Bush and Clinton families now seem to think they are entitled to run for the position. Jobs like that should never be OWNED. Now I’m starting to rant – I think I’ve made my point 🙂

  6. RambleGabber • June 30, 2016 @ 4:56 PM

    Just do whatever it is you like/love or are passionate about to the point where you know it might be lucrative to persue even further into something you can present to the world knowing the there will be feedback from other humans from positive (you wonderful uplifters) to downright nast(those inhumane poor excuse for a human beings who always bring image, race or religion into every comment they make. You know, those natural born duck up’s!)

  7. RambleGabber • June 30, 2016 @ 4:58 PM

    You know I meant to say F**k up’s!

  8. RambleGabber • June 30, 2016 @ 5:48 PM

    More importantly don’t put yourself out into the public looking to get famous but rather to share with the world your talents/skills, or blueprint idea/creativity & once out into the world know that you did what you wanred to do, if someone who notices you whom can also catapult you to greater heights…just f**king make sure you read the fine print & make sure you put your name on everything that belongs to you! Cover all bases right down to the nook & cranny of owning you in whatever industry recognizes you as someone with the potential to become a “Game Changer”! Yet never forget who you are or how you got to wherever you are be it famous or publicly known in a positive way. Continue to create as if you were doing it for the first time! Again, watch out for those natural born f**k up’s who will try to tear you down or ruin your humanity with their infectious misery, also certain people of ethnicity who like to gun down other people who are trying to bring positivity into the world, although unfortunately nothing can really prepare you for those Mega N.B.F’s. So you may have that major obstacle to not look forward to, but may inevitably come across.

  9. Jenny • June 30, 2016 @ 9:56 PM

    Same goes for Trudeau. He wouldn’t be where he was if it wasn’t for his father. Oh, and don’t forget Ben Mulroney. Would he be hosting a show if he didn’t have a famous father? Nepotism is disgusting.

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