John Mulaney

After about a year of not knowing what stand-up comedian John Mulaney has been up to following his highly publicized rehab stint at the end of 2020, I am lucky to say that I was able to see Mulaney lay it all out on the line in his new comedy tour “From Scratch.”

The “From Scratch” tour started in San Diego in late October before making its way to New Orleans for a five-day run from Nov. 3 to Nov. 7. I attended his show on his second tour date, located at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for Performing Arts in Louis Armstrong Park, not knowing what he would be sharing about his time in rehab or the events leading up to it. Unapologetically, Mulaney outdid himself with an animated performance filled with macabre themes and personal anecdotes detailing his recovery.

“His show had a different, more real vibe to it than before which felt more authentic and felt as though we were getting the real John Mulaney,” said senior marketing major Madeline Krielow, who praises Mulaney for his genuineness. “He does not hold back about anything and has a great sense of humor about all of the latest happenings in his life." 

There was a stark difference in the kind of topics covered in “From Scratch,” compared to his 2018 Netflix comedy film “Kid Gorgeous”. The comedian started the night discussing how his intervention went and how star-studded it was, specifically mentioning how fellow comedians such as Nick Kroll, Natasha Lyonne, Seth Meyers and Fred Armisen were there. While talking about what was undoubtedly a personal and difficult time in his life, he continued to make the audience gasp in shock and laughter with the callousness in which he talked about the situation. At this show specifically, it was plain to see that Mulaney had come to terms with his struggles and was proving this by delivering such dark yet comical quips.

One of the standout bits in the show was near the end, where he read the audience a hilarious GQ article that he was interviewed for over the phone while being high. He describes his responses, which were more than out of pocket. He answered the question “How was your day?” by telling the journalist that he could not stop thinking about a haunted building he walked past earlier in the day in New York City. There is no way that I could do the bit justice by trying to reenact it, but I can say it was hilarious enough for me to belly laugh in my seat.

Mulaney’s grim humor received a positive reaction from the audience, a reaction due in part to him interacting with a few audience members throughout the show. One audience member he chose to call out was a 14-year-old boy, who he targeted because of his age, joking with him about not being prepared for the dismal nature of the show. He would keep referring back to the boy sarcastically whenever he would bring up something related to his addiction or how he started abusing drugs from a young age. Mulaney did put a large emphasis on how beneficial his rehab experience was for him and how grateful he was for the overwhelming amount of support from fans that allowed him to be able to do stand-up again. 

All in all, “From Scratch” left no room for disappointment from Mulaney fans and dark comedy fans alike. While the show’s topics may not have been as cheerful or laid-back as other notable Mulaney performances, he was still able to leave smiles on the faces of everyone in the theater and make everyone feel comfortable laughing alongside him about the peace he has made with his hardships. 

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