I have listened/watched to John Mulaney’s stand-up an alarming number of times, to the point where some of his bits are deeply ingrained into my daily lexicon. (And seriously, if you have not watched his New in Town special on Netflix yet, you need to re-evaluate your life.) I was trying to remain optimistic about the premiere of his new show, a multi-cam sitcom loosely based on his own life. Also, it has a (shudder) laugh track. But I love his stand-up! I know he’s funny! I crush on him! What could go wrong? As it turns out, a great deal.
It’s not that the show didn’t deliver some laughs, but all the laughs came from material with which I am very familiar. It was beyond bizarre to see one of his best bits, a story about going to the doctor for Xanax with unforeseen consequences, being acted out. The truth of the matter is that Mulaney may not be the best actor, bless him. He was a bit too stiff and didn’t have that lovable dork swag that he has when he has the microphone stand in front of him. But then, Jerry Seinfeld was never a great actor either and Mulaney is obviously trying to take a page (if not a whole chapter) from his book, almost to it’s detriment if you ask me. The comparison may hurt in getting viewers as people will just write it off as a copy but then it may help retain viewers who remember that Seinfeld opened to not so great reviews.
On top of that, no one felt completely comfortable in their roles and the episode was grossly disjointed as they tried to fit include too many character introductions and too many of his popular bits that all had nothing to do with each other.
All that being said, I am a TV comedy pro and I know that every sitcom needs a solid six episodes to really get into it’s groove. Also, early reports about the upcoming episodes are that the show gets better. This show was stuck in development limbo for a while and any show is going to suffer from that, so once again, I am going to remain hopefully optimistic and just hope that my heart doesn’t get broken because it did crack a little last night.
(ASIDE: Mulaney fans, was that Ice-T doing the announcing at the beginning of the episode. Please tell me that was Ice-T.)