John Mulaney – Kid Gorgeous at Radio City

2020-05-02 14_42_38-John Mulaney - Kid Gorgeous at Radio City - Google Docs

This is John Mulaney’s newest stand up special. Does Mulaney even do stand up any more? It would be terrible if he didn’t, he was always the best. But even before Covid19, the only ever time I’d see him do a show was when he was canceling his Toronto shows. His light touch with flamboyant expressions would be a blow to stand up comedy if it were gone. This special has Mulaney returning to themes of childhood, while also tackling new arenas, like politics.

There are two longer bits that hit hard in this special. The first comes near the top, when Mulaney says that stand up is the closest thing to assembly that adults have, then goes into a story about one of the adults that he watched an assembly of a police detective. The police detective–Bitbinder becomes a character in Mulaney’s joke, he sets him up by desiring his outfit as delightfully outrageous. This joke is straight up Mulaney’s wheelhouse, as it lets him be a little dark, lets him be a little flamboyant, and let’s him reflect on childhood. Bitbinder himself had commented on the joke, which was amazing, and reinforced that Mualeny is just telling stories from his life.

The second major joke on this special is a long analogue about how Trump is like a horse in a hospital. This is one of my favorite Trump jokes ever, up there with Emily Heller’s joke about Trump being like a subway off track and killing a bunch of people. This joke is great, and really captures the feeling of being a concerned citizen during Trump’s first year of presidency. It has a sense of ridiculousness and is put in such a silly way that this joke just works. Mualney also never uses Trump’s name during this segment– a political idea that was popular on the internet during that time. It works though, and takes some of the pressure off of it being a trump joke. It makes it feel like just a joke. The image alone of a horse in a hospital is great, and does so much legwork.

The last joke is about religion, and how people who didn’t grow up with religion have so many questions. I was watching this with a close friend of mine who grew up in a very catholic household, and I did not have religion, so we felt this joke. This special woks for both of us. Mulaney is able to make jokes that Catholics will find funny without forgetting that a large part of the audience will have no idea what he’s talking about, and is able to explain in an entertaining fun way.

Once again Mulaney shows that not only is he the best story teller comedy has, he’s one of the best comedians we have. Often in comedy spaces it is dominated with older folks talking about how great Chappelle or Eddie Murphy is, but when younger people say who they think is best, often it’s Mulaney. He’s redefining comedy and making it better for more people, and I hope we get another special from him this or next year.

The entire transcript is here

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