John Mulaney is no stranger to the Saturday Night Live stage or standing alone and telling jokes, which is probably why he delivered one of the best SNL monologues in recent memory on Saturday.
In a wide-ranging monologue that covered the third amendment, Jesus and a lot of dad jokes, Mulaney delivered one of the best and most natural monologues in recent memory. No need for bits or walk abouts or audience participation — just eight minutes of straight stand up comedy.
“My name is John Mulaney, and if you’re watching at home and you don’t know who I am, I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m like Louis Farrakhan, I mean a lot to a small group of people.”
This is Mulaney’s third time hosting the show he used to write for in the last three years, and he joked that he’s done the least between hosting gigs out of any repeat hosts.
“I have nothing coming up, I am here to promote the month of March,” he said. “March: if winter had spring. March.”
Mulaney launched into a brief bit about dads, of which he is not one but is an “observer” of his own and claimed that boomer dads don’t have any friends, they just want to read about World War II.
“If you think your dad has friends, you’re wrong. You mom has friends, and they have husbands,” he said. “All our dads are cramming for some World War II quiz show and I can’t wait to watch it.”
That gave Mulaney an opportunity to make a joke about Jesus.
“I think that’s the greatest miracle of Jesus,” he said. “He was 33 years old and had 12 best friends. And they were not his wife’s friend’s husbands, and he didn’t meet them a long time ago at school. He met them in his thirties! Twelve best friends. Remember when your dad went fishing once? These guys went fishing every day.”
Mulaney’s hosting duties fell on a Leap Day Saturday, the first time a new SNL occurred on such a day. So Mulaney built a joke about Leap Day into the set, noting that Julius Caesar added it to the calendar before making a joke Mulaney said he needed to clear with lawyers.
“Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar is that he was such a powerful maniac that all the senators grabbed knives and they stabbed him to death. That’d be an interesting thing if we brought that back now,” Mulaney said. “I asked my lawyer if I could make that joke and he said ‘let me call another lawyer’ and that lawyer said yes.
Mulaney had plenty more to say in the last four minutes, making jokes about Michael Jordan and an extended bit about why he dislikes the founding fathers, mostly because of their haphazard amendment assembly. There’s also an outstanding story about Lin-Manuel Miranda. Perhaps it’s unfair to let a stand-up give a monologue on SNL, but they usually deliver the best ones of the season, and the voice of Andrew Glouberman didn’t disappoint here.