So, last night I watched his special, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, and it was wonderful. I even found myself laughing out loud a couple of times alone in the room. That doesn't happen often, even when watching a comedy that I love.
Some of it is that his twists are funny, or his observations, or construction. But a lot of it is that he's a wonderful performer and his delivery is just so good. Even when he's not delivering a joke, I found myself often with a smile on my face, and sometimes laughing. Describing the lines won't do much good, because it's his pacing and performance that make them come off well, For instance, he even got a big laugh explaining why he said something that he knew wasn't funny and doesn't get a laugh, just a large reaction. It comes after a description he makes about a policeman who came to his grade school in Chicago every year to give a "Stranger Danger" speech at school assembly. And that description is an absolutely great line, pointed, unique but a bit uncomfortable, and while the audience reacts in a huge way, it's -- "Ooooooooooo-oooooo." After which Mulaney says -- and I can't get across his style, but he turns to look directly at the audience -- "That NEVER gets a laugh, but when you write a line like that... -- It Is Never Coming Out of Your Act." And that gets a big laugh and applause.
Anyway, at one point, he explains that he's never been political, but it's impossible to miss the news, and for the next almost 10 minutes he goes into a story about the Trump administration that is not only uproariously funny and devastating, but not once does he mention Trump or any other politician or even anything about politics. It's a remarkable, unique take.
I searched YouTube to see if they might have the clip from the show, and they didn't. But -- I did find an appearance he made on the Colbert show a few years back where he's chatting with the host, and as part of their conversation he does work in about two minutes of that bit. It comes a bit after the 8-minute mark. The first eight minutes are a charming joy, so that's worth watching, but it's when Colbert asks him about a trip he took and if politics came up that he conversationally slides into his act. Alas, it's just two minutes out of what's almost 10 on stage, but you'll get a hint of it.
And if you like John Mulaney and have Netflix streaming, the full show is really well-worth checking out.