Everyone, all throughout their life, listens to stories. Every culture on Earth is built around social constructs and storytelling is a key part of them all. Now, we have all heard bad stories. Sitting at a bar, hanging out at a friend’s place, or being forced to attend your spouse’s company holiday party are all areas where you are likely to hear a bad story. Even if the content of a story is good, the way it is told makes or breaks it. And this is where John Mulaney excels. He is a masterful storyteller, which played a large part as establishing himself as one of the best modern comedians.
Mulaney has lost none of his thunder from his previous two specials. While this routine did not have me laughing as hard as the first two, it is still solid. Along with the core of the jokes remaining hilarious, Mulaney’s writing and delivery continue to improve. This should not be too surprising for anyone familiar with Mulaney. For those who are not, he was a writer for six years on Saturday Night Live. And it shows. It is also mentioned, as some of his stories reference his time and experiences back on SNL.
A lot of comedians stick to the same general topics. Politics and religion are always hot-button issues that are easy to poke fun at. Family is another one, especially spouses. And of course, themselves. Mulaney hits all these topics and more in this special. Unlike some other comedians, he never comes off as crass. His schtick is very well put together and while he is hilarious, he retains his sense of charm throughout. A large part of that comes from his impeccable timing. Timing is key to any good joke and Mulaney knows how to hit the bullseye every time there.
Some comedians are crude or cringeworthy, but Mulaney is neither of those things. His routine has him up on stage as what he is: a white guy. Mulaney is probably the best modern stand-up example of a white dude. He never outright says that (or even comes close to doing so), but it’s there. Not that Jeff Foxworthy blue-collar humor, but white-collar humor. This is humor for folks who work office jobs and had sort-of-typical but sort-of-weird childhoods. So, guys like me. It makes the humor more relatable and that makes it all the more hilarious.