John Mulaney’s ‘Everybody’s In L.A.’ Is A Late Night Party We’re Going To Remember

John Mulaney is a tremendous comedian with a lot of nice suits and cool celebrity friends, so people have often said that he should host a late-night talk show. Now he has, with a limited-run series that will only last six episodes, proving all those amateur career counselors right while, at the same time, breaking their hearts into pieces. But the beauty of Everybody’s In L.A. might be found in its brevity and all that it has unlocked.

To me, the best episode of any late-night show over the last decade is the one-off that Adam Pally and Ben Schwartz did while covering CBS’ The Late Late Show in the middle of a blizzard. If you can find the episode (it constantly gets posted and then taken down), do so (and then come back and read our oral history on it). That episode was invented by necessity and survival mode put on by comedy nerds who grew up idolizing Conan O’Brien and his late-night show’s particular, near-impossible-to-repeat comedic lawlessness. Impossible to repeat, of course, if you’re in it for the long haul. Conan nearly got fired on a weekly basis in his early days at NBC, but with the risk aversion plaguing the industry now, his show probably would have also ended after just 6 episodes if it debuted last week.

Like Pally and Schwartz, Mulaney went into this project like a cool substitute teacher, sidestepping the typical late night lesson plan and certain considerations that just didn’t apply to this unique situation. Mulaney has an interest in the creative freedom that comes from being able to jump from project to project – it’s something he spoke about when I interviewed him about The Sack Lunch Bunch in 2019 – and as he said at the start of the first episode of Everybody’s In L.A., he loves being done with things.

Sidebar: When I think about comps for Mulaney’s career, I think about Albert Brooks, a distinct comedic auteur who was so allergic to permanence that he rejected the chance to be SNL’s forever host at its start. Brooks made shorts for the show instead, crushed every late night guest appearance, and innovated on stage and with feature films that he made on his terms. Brooks is a legend (check out the HBO doc on his career, Defending My Life if he sounds interesting to you) and model of creative independence whose career might have suffered had he taken on the time burdens of a comedy desk job.

Anyway, with no interest in doing Everybody’s In L.A. forever, Mulaney was freed to do his show without thinking about weeks 2 through 52 (or 520 or 1,040… Jesus) and without being stressed by the idea that he had to keep a small army employed. Everyone is a comedy mercenary here. No spacing guests, field pieces, and pre-taped bits out. No focus groups. Everything is getting thrown at the screen, sometimes at the same time – a celebrity filled panel colliding into a conversation on air quality and trees. A ginger-ale delivery bot rolling past them while Mulaney impatiently listens to a random caller waiting to find out if they drive a Kia Sorrento or not before Will Ferrell or Andy Samberg weighs in from the crowd as a cartoonish LA rich guy.


“Is this a Banksy?” asked Jon Stewart in the middle of Monday’s episode after being spooked by the Saymo robot (this would be before he tried to take a ride inside the helpful land drone). Comedian Mae Martin called the show a “David Lynch fever dream.”

On the third episode, Mulaney said, “Welcome to Sunglass Night, the topic is helicopters,” before leading a more serious (but still joke-filled) panel discussion on crime in LA with OJ Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, helicopter reporter Zoe Tur, and comedians Earthquake, Nate Bartgatze, and Patton Oswalt. All in sunglasses because, like the man said, it was Sunglass Night.

Later, Mulaney leaned on Fred Armisen to assemble a bunch of mid-60-year-old punk rockers to see how hard they still go after character actor and show announcer Richard Kind tried to get a fun party game going by asking everyone if they had gone down on a family member. This is after episode two started with Kind trying to get LSD to experience Mulaney on stage at The Hollywood Bowl, recalling some of Andy Richter’s best bits in the early days of Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Like the episodes themselves (delightfully), the influences that comprise Everybody’s In L.A. are scattered. The field pieces and willingness to bend convention like Late Night (both the Conan and Letterman versions), the intellectual curiosity of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report (sans the politics), the randomized silliness of Comedy Bang! Bang!, and casual hang/audience participation of The Chris Gethard Show. Everybody’s In L.A. is an amalgamation of all those things and something all its own. But that’s a very late night nerd way of putting it, and those touchstones can, I think, scare people off sometimes. This isn’t meant to be exclusive for that crowd. It’s far more accessible, so let me reframe.

This show feels like a house party that has finally wound down and weeded out the randoms. Nervous energy gone, everyone is suddenly very interested in a random topic and super comfortable in being themselves while the host throws on a record you maybe haven’t thought about in a minute (with St. Vincent, Warren G, and Joyce Manor, Everybody’s In L.A. is picking up the baton of interesting musical guest curation that conventional late night has largely left on the floor). Like that point in this metaphorical party that we can all remember, Everybody’s In L.A. is an awesome vibe. It is ending when we wish it might last just a little bit longer, but well before we have a chance to get bored with it.

I’m going to miss and rewatch Everybody’s In L.A. so much. But that’s also awesome. Missing things is good. It means they meant something. When you’re inundated by shows that go two seasons too long, expanded universes that get too big and complicated, and other things that are just unremarkable filler, having something mean something is everything.

‘Everybody’s In L.A.’ is airing live on Netflix for the next three nights at 10ET with episodes available to stream afterward