Netflix recently released “Kid Gorgeous,” and it’s John Mulaney’s best comedy special yet. The 35 year-old has been somewhat quietly making his way to the front of the line of professional comedians. Working as a writer for Saturday Night Live for several seasons, not as a cast member, Mulaney has been a favorite of other comedians for quite some time.
“Gorgeous” is the comedian’s fourth special, and he has written for and starred in many TV shows. Without making a lot of noise, he has slowly become a household name over the last few years. This accomplishment has truly come through hard work and tremendous patience. Mulaney is one of the best joke writers currently working, and the most natural storyteller in the business. His new Netflix special was released in tandem with his current tour, and showcases his finely tuned natural talent at its peak.
He has an incredible knack for relating to his audience through personal experiences, but in “Gorgeous” he has also found a way to discuss politics in a truly non-divisive way. Despite the hyperbolic nature of Donald Trump’s presidency, very few comics have found a way to make good jokes about the country since he was elected. In a segment in which Mulaney compares the president to a horse that is loose in a hospital, he finds a way to get everyone to nod and laugh with the accuracy of the comparison. Everyone wants to know what the horse is going to do next.
To begin the special, the comedian delves into a significantly funny story recalling a “Child Homicide Specialist” that came to assemblies at his grade school to host a notorious lecture called “Street Smarts.” As he seamlessly delivers the impression of this hardened Chicago cop, he misses zero beats, and the audience is transported with him to this insane assembly that warned seven-years olds of the impending danger of child abduction.
As the special continues, Mulaney takes on his mystifying collegiate experience, the insanely high tuition he paid to attend college, and the audacity the school has to ask for post-graduation donations. “I gave you more money than the Civil War cost, and you want more money?” Through gut-busting jokes, Mulaney gets a lot of things right with this story — particularly the way schools seduce their students to commit to paying over $120,000 dollars as a teenager (with no attorney present!).
As the special continues, there are no shortage of huge belly laughs, and it is impossible not to notice just how funny his delivery is. There are very few comedians working today that are at this point in their career. Mulaney has become a “sure bet” as a now-veteran performer, and there is no one who has his ability to tell stories. Three of his specials are currently available on Netflix, and they should all be streamed, but “Kid Gorgeous” is worth multiple viewings.