I like John Mulaney’s standup act so wen I heard he was doing a sitcom I was excited to see it.
I’ve watched a handful of episodes and I’m disappointed. I like the cast (Mulaney, Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith, Elliot Gould, Martin Short!), and there’s occasionally a decent premise (the black guy who had never heard of Friends before gets obsessed with it), but it almost feels like a parody of Seinfeld—actually it seems a bit like Jerry, Seinfeld’s show-within-a show.
I do like his stand up work but I haven’t seen the show. sounds like it’s something to avoid. My sister got a kick out of his bit about Ice-T on Law & Order:SVU.
to quote the late Mitch Hedberg:
“When you’re in Hollywood and you’re a comedian, everybody wants you to do things besides comedy. They say, ‘OK, you’re a stand-up comedian – can you act? Can you write? Write us a script?’… It’s as though if I were a cook and I worked my ass off to become a good cook, they said, ‘All right, you’re a cook – can you farm?’”
Martin Short’s character isn’t terrible, but he’s not straying too terribly far from the typical Martin Short character, so I think we can credit Short for that.
I’ve never seen Mulaney’s standup, beyond the bits from the promos and the two or three episodes of the show I actually sat through, so I’m surprised at people saying he’s good. He managed to get a chuckle from me once in those bits. What quality exists in his regular standup that’s disappearing from the show? Are they using his sub-par material? Does the format screw up his stage presence?
They use some of the same jokes from his most famous standup special, but they just don’t work in the context of the show, as Seinfeld-like bumpers to the sitcom.
His standup personality really is engaging, and I can listen to him talking for an hour or two, but it doesn’t translate into sitcom form.
I think a lot about standup—especially modern standup—is that it isn’t just a series of jokes that you can chop up into individual bits and use them out of context. You have to let the comedian work up to the jokes.
To me, standup is like hanging out with a clever friend, so that’s the context in which it works.