Tonight marks the debut episode of Mulaney, and after being entertained by his stand-up for years, we’re naturally quite interested in how it turns out. But will Mulaney’s best stand-up bits be reflected within the series itself? Here are five brilliant routines that feature the type of sharp humor we hope to see on Mulaney.
The Salt And Pepper Diner
One of Mulaney’s most famous bits — and quite possibly his best — this routine tells the story of when Mulaney and his friend played Tom Jones’s “What’s New Pussycat?” 21 times in a row on a restaurant jukebox. Mulaney sets the scene perfectly, as we wait with baited breath to hear the next detail of the story. In addition to being a hilarious bit, it’s the type of amusing slice-of-life scenario that was successful for years on Seinfeld, and could work quite well on Mulaney.
Chase Through The Subway
In this tale of a horribly awkward subway encounter, John is walking behind a woman when he notices that she starts walking faster. He proceeds to speed up as well, thinking it’s because the train is coming. Eventually, he realizes that she’s likely running because she views him as a potential predator. Mulaney tries to explain his way out of it, but realizes that would only make things worse. This snippet of the awkwardness of city life could easily be explored in greater detail on Mulaney. Honestly, this entire bit could at least act as a subplot.
New In Town
Another awkward city encounter, as Mulaney meets a man who walks to him and says “Excuse me, I’m homeless, I’m gay, I have AIDS, I’m new in town…,” leaving us all to wonder why he’d close with “new in town.” This bit illustrates how Mulaney could take advantage of its New York setting, and potentially make the city itself a character. Mulaney could have tons of fascinating encounters with hopelessly awkward one-time characters. We’d meet a different weirdo every week and love it!
Why I Don’t Drink Anymore
In this bit Mulaney speaks candidly about his past problems with alcoholism, but also tells some pretty damn hilarious stories about his time as a blackout drunk. Mulaney could go either way with this. They could add gravity to the show by making the title character a recovering alcoholic, or they could turn Mulaney’s blackout stories into plotlines that would likely be hilarious. Either way, it’s an interesting avenue to explore.
An outtake from New In Town, in this bit, Mulaney describes his poor abilities as a motorist, and his subsequent shame when berated by other drivers (“I don’t want me to be doing what I’m doing either!”). Everyone knows how painful city traffic can be, and this is likely an aspect of Mulaney’s life that can be mined for some serious laughs.