Review: John Mulaney @ Eventim Apollo
Faith Dale-Hughes gives her two cents on the live Mulaney material, performed in Hammersmith, London, in January.
A large part of my humour comes from the way John Mulaney says words. His comedic rhythm and take on the ordinary hooked me to force any of my friends, or even grandparents, to watch his specials with me. I’m pretty sure if you muted Kid Gorgeous at Radio City (2018), The Comeback Kid (2015), or New in Town (2012), I could voice-over the entirety to you.
And NO. The New in Town show isn’t on Netflix. I listen to it on Spotify. And snort-laugh on the train like everyone else does. Thank you. Anyway, I was beyond excitement to see what his new material would include..
It’s difficult to appreciate Mulaney’s recent stand-up without knowledge of his private life from the last few years. Since the start of his career, he’s only grown in fame, with numerous Netflix specials and work with Saturday Night Live. Despite his career’s trajectory, fans were surprised when it was announced he was checking into rehab in December 2020.
The following year, the media had a lot to expose from John Mulaney’s private life. Starting with the news of his divorce (with Anna Marie Tendler – a very talented artist that I would recommend checking out!), which had been a partnership the comedian had mentioned on multiple occasions in his material.
When news of Mulaney’s new relationship and pregnancy with Olivia Munn broke, fans were once again shocked. The topic of having children had also been often referenced in his comedy, as when the comedian was with Anna Marie Tendler, the couple were very public about not wanting children.
Most of Mulaney’s act at Eventim Apollo (27th January 2023) centred around his drug stories. Don’t get me wrong, I believe showcasing the same version of himself as an ex-alcoholic, typical husband after the last couple of years would be unreasonably false. However, his new act tended to get into (possibly too much) information on how to get money for drugs, prescriptions, and his experience of rehab. Despite the comedian’s new turn of content, continuation of his ‘clean’ persona would not have been the way to go. Mention of his new son was only touched on in a short joke that went along the lines of – ‘you know you’ve had a rough year when you announce the birth of your child, and the reviews are MIXED.’
From comedic bits describing Mulaney’s intervention run by friends to his admittance into rehab, his experience was in no way glorified to his audience. The comedian rather smoothly inserted details of his drug abuse into his new identity. This type of dark, yet honest content was refreshing in Mulaney’s unique comedic delivery.
In the last part of his show, Mulaney gave some advice to a young boy in the crowd, including something nice about how happiness comes from within, and simply: ‘don’t vape.’