Put Mulaney Out Of Its Misery Before It Ruins His Career
I don’t know how many of us there are out there, but I’m a huge fan of John Mulaney’s. I don’t like to make it a habit of falling for former SNL writers, because I don’t want to make my precious Seth Meyers jealous. But, after watching his legitimately HI-larious (say this like a dad would) hour-long standup special New In Town, I decided that he was worth it. Which is why I’m so conflicted by the fact that I would very much like for his debut sitcom, Mulaney, to get canceled right away this instant immediately.
I had the misfortune of tuning in to the show’s premiere on FOX last night, a sentence which already says more negative things than positive. The show sets itself up as a modern answer to everything that the ’90s loved about Seinfeld. Like Jerry Seinfeld, John plays a fictional version of himself — a standup comedian with a group of friends who have boundary issues. That’s it; I’ve just described everything that you’d need to know about the show. Now, as far as the things that you might want to know —like how well a standup comedian’s skillset transfers to a TV set— I’ve got a more detailed answer for you coming in hot.
I’d hate to lead you on, so let me go ahead and answer that question for you: the short answer is badly. The longer answer is: it’s painful to watch John pander to the audience with a dragged out and overly-emphatic voice, as if to say, “Here’s the punchline! Don’t forget to laugh, but that’s okay if you do because there’s a laugh track, anyway!” I hadn’t realized just how little acting goes into telling funny stories onstage until I watched this show.
To make matters worse (but all the more like Seinfeld), the show opens with a scene that shows John onstage being funny and engaging, otherwise known as The John Mulaney I Know And Love, Dammit. But soon after that, the narrative aspect of the episode starts (with a little ditty to let you know to hold onto your hats, just like in… well, you get the point by now) and it all goes downhill. That’s when John starts delivering some terrible mashup of standup and sitcom material. This is all supported by Nasim Pedrad’s character, More Annoying Than Nasim’s Intentionally Annoying Kim Kardashian Impression, Seaton Smith’s character, Ditzy Comic Relief, and Zack Perlman’s Actually Cosmo Kramer.
I don’t know how to get in touch with the TV government, so hopefully they’ll accept this as my official appeal to stop Mulaney at all costs. But I also don’t want John Mulaney to be out of work because he is genuinely hilarious and great. So, like, ditch this show and give him something better to do. Maybe 365 more hour-longs to do between now and next October so that we can all forget that this show ever happened.