Geeky SNL writer talks about his life
If Mulaney in small doses didn't float my boat (and it's not just his SNL work, because his spots on Jimmy Fallon's show haven't been appealing either), then this hour, filmed at the Skirball Center in New York City, wasn't likely to impress much ore. For the most part, that was true. After a cute sitcom-inspired opening, I barely cracked a smile as he talked about his younger years, including his issues with bullying and his lawyer parents. While the visual of him being an adult-sized child is amusing, and little jokes about babysitters and being a nervous child are a bit funny, the set just didn't come together through the first 30 minutes.
As he left behind his childhood and moved into his adult adventures, the level of the show rose quickly, to the point where I was genuinely laughing. The bit that gave the show its name, about his run-in with a homeless gentleman who has issues with prioritizing his introductions, part of a run on life in New York, has the right mix of absurdity and disconnectedness to let it earn some real laughs, as are his thoughts about killing Hitler. The highlight of the show (aside from a dead-on gag about the unlikelihood of an all-female heist) is a lengthy bit about his experiences as a blackout drunk and the sober life that's followed. Though the payoff doesn't live up to the build-up, the journey is humorous enough to make it worth taking.
Some of his act, unfortunately, is a bit old hat, covering the usual comedian topics like driving, Law and Order, the news, doctors, flying and relationships. Though he does raise the bar in some of these areas, like his awful experience flying on his own or his breakdown of the types of people according to the New York Post, a lot of it treads on familiar territory and he doesn't do enough with it to make it his own. Even the final segment, where he talks about trying to get Xanax to help with his anxiety and the repercussions of the pursuit, is a standard doctor's visit bit, with a bit of his weirdness on top of it. But it takes up the final 10 minutes of the special (which makes it a sixth of the show) and the ending just peters out.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 presentation is your standard stand-up delivery, balancing the two channels, and keeping Mulaney's voice clear and cleanly separaied from the audience. There's not a whole lot to it, but there never is in stand-up, unless you're going to go for a 5.1 track that puts you in the middle of the room.
The other extra is a 7:39 interview of Mulaney, conducted by Mintz, that has the framework of a legitimate sit-down, but is coated with a thick layer of awkwardness, as Mintz focuses mainly on the negative and unusual. It's not cringe-worthy enough to be really funny, but it is somewhat amusing.
The Bottom Line