Here at NJATVS, we hold quality above any criteria. With that in mind, it’s rare that we would consider a sitcom. There’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about sitcoms. However, it’s also rare that one stand out amidst the crowd. It is just my personal preference but, I have a hard time sticking with a sitcom. In recent history some that come to mind, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and even the Emmy winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All of which I have started and grew tired of. Not to say they aren’t great for what they are but I’d much rather devote my time to say The Blacklist or The Newsroom. With that said, Mulaney is going to be different.
Mulaney’s namesake refers to the main character and inspiration for the show, standup comedian, writer and all out cleverly funny man John Mulaney. If his work is unfamiliar to you, his contributions to Saturday Night Live are significant and include but are not limited to Bill Hader’s character “Stefon”. I feel confident in saying that at the very least, John Mulaney is the best standup comic and comedic writer who isn’t a household name (even though he is to a number of us). On the high-end, John Mulaney is the best standup comic working today. Now I know that seems a little lofty, hyperbolic even. However, I do say this with a reasonable sample size in mind. I personally believe going to watch live comedy is maybe the best form of entertainment. I have seen my fair share and listen to standup comedy daily. I am fortunate enough to not only utilize a terrestrial standup comedy radio station but Pandora as well. So among all the names I could spit out that you may also not be familiar with (i.e Dan Cummins, Chad Daniels, Kurt Braunohler, etc)
While it goes without saying that names like Louie CK, Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Kevin Hart, Bill Burr, Mike Birbiglia and Katt Williams may be more readily acknowledged household names, I would put John Mulaney up with any of them. He has a style, a delivery, a meter, and subject matter that appeals to all people of all walks of life. I’ve been to many shows over the years. Saw John Mulaney with Seaton Smith as the opener this summer. It was unreal. Comparatively insane. To be fair, I would’ve paid full headliner price to watch Seaton Smith do his own show. Luckily for us Seaton Smith is a significant character on the cast of Mulaney. Then John Mulaney came out and virtually burned the place down.
Now this is supposed to be a preview on the series Mulaney that starts October 5th on Fox. I really cannot overstate this enough. If you don’t know who John Mulaney is, you are doing yourself a disservice. “New In Town” is available on Netflix so my only question is, what are you waiting for?
Mulaney is a 30 minute throwback to the classic sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s. This story follows the life of John (loosely inspired by John Mulaney’s experience, more in tone than actual events), as he juggles the stresses of a new job with a new boss (played by Martin Short) and the drama of his roommates and neighbors. The cast is impressive, which should speak to the quality of the show. In addition to John Mulaney (John) and Seaton Smith (Motif), Martin Short (Lou Cannon) brings an incredible presence to the role of a former standup great selfishly turned game show host. The incomparable Elliot Gould as the eccentric neighbor Oscar, “Oh Hell-lo”. Zack Pearlman as the lovable obnoxious local pot dealer, Andre. And who can forget the lovely Nasim Pedrad as the lovely yet bat s*** crazy Jane. Side note, regardless of what the reason may or may not be, SNL dramatically underutilized Nasim Pedrad and I for one am very glad to have an outlet to see here on a more regular basis.
The beauty of this particular sitcom is that we will have the privilege to see John Mulaney’s standup material make its way into the show as a portion of a would be ‘set’. I don’t want to make the correlation to Seinfeld, but at the very basic terms, Mulaney will also spotlight a short standup set in each episode. In addition to the actual standup, I am positive from what I’ve seen, that a fair amount of the story lines are founded in the life experience of Mr. John Mulaney. And if his actual previously done standup is any indication, those story lines should factor in nicely. If I see that they factor in “The Salt and Pepper Diner” or “Xanax with Batman” into a storyline on Mulaney, I just might lose it…in a good way.
There is also something to be said for the elder statesmen of the show. I would be interested in avidly watching Mulaney if it were just John Mulaney and Seaton Smith. However, any time you can add Martin Short and Elliot Gould into the mix, it has to be on your list of must see TV. If you haven’t already seen it, check out Fox.com and look for “Mulaney: Opening Act”. If you are not sold on what I have presented you, I cannot imagine you wouldn’t be sold after watching Mulaney: An Opening Act.
John Mulaney alone is worth the price of admission. Seaton Smith is maybe the funniest guy I’ve seen live that no one knows about. Nasim Pedrad brings a comedic commitment not found in most comedienne, or most men for that matter. Martin Short and Elliot Gould’s resumes speak for themselves. And while I am not familiar with Zack Pearlman, his presence on this cast and the footage I have seen of him say without question that he will bring a different element to the show that I am very much looking forward to.
On a site that is dominated by televisions elite of dramas, the inclusion of Mulaney should speak volumes to my expectations. The comedy found therein is genuinely funny, relatable, compelling and most importantly for maximizing viewership, relatively family friendly. Very hard to come by in this day and age of pushing the envelope comedy. I truly hope you and everyone else who comes across Mulaney on their DVR guide will truly give it the chance it deserves.
Finally, even if sitcoms are not your cup of tea, do yourself a favor and support live comedy.