Mulaney impresses Graham crowd
John Mulaney, a veteran “Saturday Night Live” writer and stand-up comedian who has performed at venues like Carnegie Hall and a Murfreesboro, Tennessee campground, entertained a full house at Graham Chapel on Wednesday evening.
Mulaney, a Chicago native who started performing both stand-up and sketch comedy during his years at Georgetown University, is best known for his work as a writer for “SNL.” Aside from the late-night sketch show, Mulaney has written, produced and starred in a variety of comedy shows, been nominated for six Primetime Emmy awards and won one.
SPB Comedy Director and sophomore Maansi Vatsan told Student Life in an earlier interview that the comedian was chosen because of his increasing popularity and broad-based appeal, citing his two St. Louis shows at The Pageant later this spring, and audience members on Wednesday were pleased with Mulaney’s selection and performance.
Max Silvestri, a Brooklyn-based comedian, writer and actor, opened the show with stories about his love of food and an airport mishap during which he lost a tooth. The routine was received positively by the crowd.
Mulaney then took the stage and began his show by commenting on the regal nature of Graham Chapel compared to his usual venues and recounting stories from his Catholic upbringing.
“I used to be an altar boy. Oh, and a hush falls over the room,” Mulaney said. “When did that become a scandalous thing, being an altar boy? I remember when that was just a boring thing I used to have to do on weekends, but now it’s like saying, ‘I was a French maid for a period of time.’”
He also talked about his marriage to makeup artist and author Annamarie Tendler last July.
“My mom did ask if my wife was going to convert to Catholicism,” Mulaney said while laughing. “Is she going to convert? Is she? Hm, let me think about that question. Is a 29-year-old Jewish woman from Queens going to convert? To Roman Catholicism? How would I get her to convert to Catholicism if I couldn’t even get her to see the movie ‘Lincoln’?”
Mulaney continued with tales of his drunken college days and some recent domestic issues concerning his French bulldog, Petunia.
Multiple times throughout the show, Mulaney picked students out from the crowd and asked them questions about their studies and favorite pastimes. At one point, Mulaney invited a student from the K.A.R.L. improv group on stage to perform a brief sketch about a trip to the dry cleaner, which ended in a classic “your mom” joke.
One anecdote that was particularly well-received by the crowd was a story about Mulaney’s experience meeting Bill Clinton as a young child. He described being pushed through a crowd of reporters, photographers and security by his mother to find himself standing right at Clinton’s feet.
“Based on my 10-year-old memory, Bill Clinton is about 13 feet tall,” Mulaney said. “I was wearing this button that I bought outside the fundraiser, that was a cartoon image of George H. W. Bush being s— on by a quail flying over his head, and it said ‘Bird Brain,’ and I thought it was very funny. And Bill Clinton leaned down just so that only I could hear and he said, ‘Hey man, I like your button.’”
Sophomore Annie Brinza praised SPB for the talent the group has brought to campus in recent semesters.
“It was awesome. He was so funny,” Brinza said. “My favorite part was the Bill Clinton story because I’ve also met him, so it really resonated with me. I really like the choices SPB has made.”
Senior Nate Blecher was happy that Mulaney’s live presence lived up to his more-rehearsed works.
“It was wonderful; he’s a very talented comedian who obviously can play to a crowd,” Blecher said. “He’s just as good in person as he is on his shows.”
Freshman Andres Avalle agreed.
“John Mulaney is one of my favorite stand-up comedians and the new material that he brought to the Wash. U. campus absolutely lived up to the hype,” Avalle said.
For an in-depth conversation with Mulaney and Silvestri on topics ranging from Mulaney’s dog to college improv, check out our Read All Over Q-and-A.