I had seen this guy who looks like a 1930s radio announcer on the internet for years. And one day, when reading a Buzzfeed article while I was supposed to be doing homework, I decided I’d had enough and Googled who he was. That was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life. I have fallen completely in love with him
Writing this article was basically an excuse for me to sit at my computer for three hours watching Mr. Mulaney while telling my mom I’m doing homework. I won’t even lie. This is how I spent one of my actual weekends and I have absolutely no regrets.
Recently, Mr. Mulaney won an Emmy for his work on “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City,” which was very well-deserved. If you’ve ever heard of Mr. Mulaney, it was most likely from his hilarious facial expressions that are used as reactions all over Tumblr, or from his segment called “The Salt and Pepper Diner” – otherwise known as the time he played “What’s New PussyCat” 20 times with one “It’s Not Unusual” in the middle. He’s a hysterical guy, and I was so excited when I got to hear more from him.
“Kid Gorgeous” was overall a hysterical performance. Mr. Mulaney never fails to impress me, but this performance was by far the best I’ve seen from him. He’s gotten a lot older and more mature, and so has his comedy. He moved into talking a little bit about politics with his bit about a horse in a hospital (a reference to Donald Trump that basically beat you in the head over and over again) which I’ll talk about later.
The introduction was a little weird and almost made me want to click off. He should have just jumped into his opening bit about Ghosts because it would have made a lot more sense.
Now, I’ve watched this specific performance about three times now, and seen parts of it a few more times. That being said, it took me a little while to see why he is such a good performer. He’s a funny guy, but some of the things you hear online without watching fall a little flat. For me, I’ve chalked this up to his facial expressions.Often times after a punchline, Mr. Mulaney will pause and make a face, which makes lots of his jokes 10 times funnier. It allows for reactions from the audience and viewers, something you can’t see when listening on Spotify.
Mr. Mulaney is also very energetic and has a great stage presence, something that a lot of Comedians don’t have. He’s very socially awkward but still managed to take up all of Radio City Music Hall, which is a tough feat for just one person. Lots of comedians perform on small stages, and so does Mr. Mulaney, but the transition from the small stage to a huge one was seamless. Some of his best bits in this performance specifically were the ones about his dad, JJ Bittenbinder, college, and of course, his segment about a horse in the hospital.
The first segment that came up was one about his father, the lawyer. Now, both my parents are lawyers. This segment, while exaggerated a little, is pretty accurate. It starts off with him telling about interrogations his dad pulled on him when he was little, specifically for not helping his friend Tyler when he was pushed down. It goes directly into a cross examination of his six year old self by his dad.
The “Street Smarts” segment features Mr. Mulaney as JJ Bittenbinder, the child homicide expert who came to his elementary school every year to teach children about what to do when – not if – they get kidnapped or mugged. His impressions of Mr. Bittenbinder were hysterical. He described him as a large man with a handlebar moustache, who wore a three piece suit with a cowboy hat.
The funniest part about this bit, however, is that Mr. Bittenbinder watched it and was not amused, and issued a public statement, claiming that he never once wore a cowboy hat in front of the children, and that most of Mr. Mulaney’s “accusations” were false. Mr. Mulaney is a graduate of Georgetown University. Another of his best bits was about how they recently reached out to him to ask for more money. He told the audience he paid $120,000 to go to college and complained about the audacity they had to ask him for more money after that. He was an English major at Georgetown as well, and claimed that majoring in a language he already spoke was one of the worst decisions in his life. He then talked about how he (again) paid $120,000 to read books that he didn’t even read anyway, which sounds a lot like some of the students at KO…
Now onto the horse in the hospital. This was a blatantly obvious reference to Donald Trump and how he does not belong in the White House or in politics by comparing him to a horse who was placed in a hospital, where he definitely does not belong. He stayed away from attacking Republicans though, and instead only attacked Donald Trump, which is respectable as a comedian.
It’s so easy in comedy to go towards the more offensive jokes. Mr. Mulaney managed to stay away from anything that’s even remotely offensive (unless you’re President Trump or JJ Bittenbinder) which is really impressive. He did an entire bit about CAPTCHAs, which was hysterical without being offensive, shutting down all notions that “comedy is dead.”