Surf over to YouTube at any given time nowadays and you can see daily journal-type videos by a young family or nerd brothers corresponding with each other or entertainment news told with high-energy flair. These are all the result of the work of YouTube content producers who get paid for the number of hits on their videos, which can range from half a million to a million viewers each time they upload.

Back in 2006, however, when YouTube was only – get this – a year old, users uploaded videos to YouTube just for the hell of it. One such person was 16-year-old Bo Burnham, who taped himself singing comedy songs at a piano in his bedroom next to his unmade bed.

“I didn’t even know it had the potential to get attention,” says Burnham of YouTube at the time.

Unlike many others who have kept their sights on YouTube, Burnham, now 20, has parlayed his innovative videomaking into a successful comedy career.

He released his second CD, Words Words Words, this week and is embarking on a nationwide tour. He also lays claim to being the youngest comedian to perform a “Comedy Central Presents” special, which he taped in 2008. But Burnham hopes his age won’t be a marketing factor anymore with his new material, which he did not “write like a 16-year-old.” That’s one of the challenges the comedian has had to face: getting the public to see past the fact that he was born in 1990. It doesn’t help that he sports a grown-out Justin Bieber haircut. But hey, it works for the comedy.

The subjects of Burnham’s early videos were about what you’d expect from a gawky 16-year-old boy: understanding girls and math and science puns. In these clips, Burnham comes off as that weird funny kid in high school that got all the parts in the school comedies and musicals. You know, if they could sing. Which Burnham can thankfully do fairly well or his songs would be a lot less enjoyable.

With his second disc, Burnham is attempting to up his comedy game by taking on broader topics and an attitude that has evolved past the “I don’t get girls” phase.

“When you start with a vague idea, you can get a lot more jokes out of it,” he says.

For example, the title track from his new disc sounds like it started from basically what the title implies: words. From that, he references everything from Shakespeare to Helga Pataki from the Nickelodeon show “Hey Arnold!” And that’s one of the cool things about a comedian from the young 20-something set: Our childhood pop culture moments are thrown in with casual abandon.

Other musical comedians like Stephen Lynch or even Demetri Martin aren’t as relatable to the current college set because they don’t have the same point of reference pop-culturally speaking. It’s a delight to hear the pop culture references to which we early-20-somethings can take ownership.

Burnham is in a unique place – he is still early into his career, but he’s playing to houses packed with his fans. The more common pattern is for young comedians to play to clubs with random audience members, and the response can be really hit-or-miss. However, Burnham doesn’t have to worry about censoring himself for any particular audience. He mainly is concerned with what songs are funny and the only reason he won’t play any particular song is if he “isn’t rocking the show.”

Burnham seems concerned with not being one-note: He is not only branching out in terms of topics, he is also adding more standard stand-up segments to his shows.

“No one wants to watch a kid do 30 songs,” he explains.

Burnham also wants to make his shows more like performance art. He enthuses about a comedy festival he attended in Edinburgh, Scotland, this summer where the routines were more like Broadway numbers. The theatricality of the fest inspired him to aim for something similar in his shows, creating something that’s more akin to a piece of theater rather than the run-of-the-mill stand-up show.

Even though he’s accomplished a lot already at 20, Burnham is aiming for something that you wouldn’t have expected from the kid who didn’t bother to make his bed before turning on the camcorder: comedic art. How funny!

Words Words Words is currently available. Bo Burnham performs Nov. 13 at the Music Box. For more information, visit