Everyone’s heard the old saying: “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”
Of course, this was the title of a popular book about relationships from 1992 written by John Gray. Though a lot of time has passed since then (and some of the content has been debunked at least a little bit), the differences between men and women remain a constant topic of discussion in our society. As anyone who has dated at all knows, relationships can be a lot harder than they seem on the surface.
And they’re made even harder when we have unrealistic expectations about what we’re going to get in a partner.
Although we all intuitively know this, few people have made fun of it as hilariously as Bo Burnham.
For those who don’t know, Burnham is the writer and director of the recent smash hit movie Eighth Grade—but his origins go further back than that. His career began on YouTube before he signed a deal with Comedy Central to release comedy albums on their imprint. From there, he went on to stand-up specials and the mainstream success he enjoys today. His newest stand up special, Make Happy, is available on Netflix.
Though the show is full of great moments, his song “Lower Your Expectations” is one of the funniest of them all.
As the song starts, Burnham outlines what women tend to look for in an idealized man.
Of course, so many of these expectations are contradictory and too much ask for out of any one person… and he tells the crowd as much in a hilarious verse. Through it all, he says that loving someone else is really about choosing to do it and not so much about if they live up to your own ideals. “At least men have very realistic expectations for women,” Burnham says, before adding: “he said, sarcastically, setting up a second verse in a comedy song…”
The crowd laughs and the second verse is even better than the first.
If anyone thought that Burnham was hard on the women in the audience, the verse about men is even harsher!
Although the song is hilarious, the song takes an unexpected turn at the very end. After criticizing everyone, he notes that despite our outrageous expectations of others… we may actually be afraid that we don’t deserve what we want. At the end of the day though, he says, we all deserve love.
At the end of the song, the crowd bursts into applause.
As we mentioned, Burnham’s song is only one of many that he’s been releasing online for years.
While he’s always shown plenty of musical talent, part of what makes his songs so enjoyable is how they tackle serious and relatable subjects through an ironic and detached stage persona. For a few other highlights from his career, Burnham also released a song about the commodification of art and the selfishness of the artists who make it… though so far he has no signs of quitting!
While all of his songs have plenty of polish and execution now, Burnham still left his earliest videos up on YouTube as well.
Part of the fun of following an artist is seeing how much they grow throughout their career. With that in mind, it’s fun to watch one of Burnham’s earliest videos below where he plays guitar and raps some absurdist lyrics. Although it’s clear he’s come a long way, these songs are still just as entertaining as they ever were!
To get back to the point, relationships are hard.
For the most part, we only have the relationships of those closest to us and what we see on television to model our behavior off of. In some cases, those aren’t the best examples. As Burnham shows with this song, it’s best to keep a light approach and a sense of humor when getting to know other people that you could develop a loving relationship with. After all, none of us are perfect!
If you want more of Bo Burnham, check out his free special “what.” on YouTube or “Make Happy” on Netflix!
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