Fox is doing a lot of good things right now. Weird, right? They just brought back 24, a show that was groundbreaking at the time and has the following to be a huge summer hit for the network. Speaking of “following”, The Following had a cult group of followers that also enjoyed the serial killer thriller. As well in the cartoon world, Bob’s Burgers holds the top spot among The Simpsons and Family Guy, with its witty writing and great list of comedians who voice the characters in the program. And now, well last year… but hopefully debuting soon, Fox bought six episodes of the show Mulaney.
One of my favorite comedians in the last couple of years has been John Mulaney. Mulaney’s work in stand-up makes the craft seem easy, just effortless in the way he strings jokes and stories together. Almost all of his bits on his two CDs (The Top Part & New In Town) are perfect for just spouting out at a moment’s notice, whenever that situation happens in your own life. If you haven’t heard his playing Tom Jones’ What’s New Pussycat at the Salt and Pepper Diner, then you’ve missed out on a great laugh. He was also half responsible for the Weekend Update powerhouse that was Stefon, usually slipping new lines in on Bill Hader without his knowledge. So, what could be better than John Mulaney getting a TV deal in a semi-autobiographical sitcom about his life? Man, I don’t know, but I’m ready to find out.
“Mulaney” stars John Mulaney as himself “working the stand-up circuit and looking for his big break.” The show boasts the impressive casting of both Martin Short and Elliott Gould, one as a self centered comedy legend and game show host, the other as a 71-year old gay veteran of New York, respectively. The show also brings in Saturday Night Live’s Nasim Pedrad as one of his best friends and roommates. I’ll say this, if she comes in as a version of Shallon, her character on SNL, I’ll be ok for a minute, then be concerned. But, some Saturday Night Live actors shine outside of Studio 8H, an idea that Brooks Wheelan is probably banking on.
It’s been 15 years since another semi-autobiographical show (about nothing) has graced the television screens of people around the nation. Do I think Mulaney has all the talent, skills, humor to put together a show that could be around for five or six seasons? Absolutely. Do I trust that Fox will be able promote this show well enough to get the right viewers behind it? Nope. One of the last programs centered around a stand-up comedian that I really got behind was TITUS, also a semi-autobiographical show about stand-up Christopher Titus. The first episode, which was so strong in that it made you fear his father, who they thought was dead in his room, without ever seeing him, involved a lot of the material from his stand-up, which is STRONG stuff. Also, it stared Christopher Titus, Stacy Keach and Zack Ward (Scut Farkus – YELLOW EYES!!!).
So, Fox, let me say this. Don’t ruin this, please don’t ruin this. You have something in your back pocket where you can say, “Hey NBC, you passed on this show, now we have it. No wonder people always rail on your bad decisions.” So let me leave you with this. This should be a plot of an episode of Mulaney, with a guest spot for Pete Holmes: