John Mulaney – The Top Part

mulaney250Artist: John Mulaney
Album: The Top Part
Genre: Comedy
Label: Comedy Central Records

Stand up comedy has become somewhat a dismal land as of late. Where there use to be dozens of great comics, the pool seems to be drying up. However, up and comer [to the masses] John Mulaney has debuted his new record The Top Part and, if it’s any sign of his genius, he has quite a future ahead of him.

Now I understand that stand up and comedy in general is very hard to review. Regardless of how funny you think one person is, someone else will probably think they’re terrible. So, with that, allow me to give you my thoughts on this release.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of realistic storytelling in comedy. I want real life situation, but not the kind that begins with “well, the other day” because that’s nothing more than a sad way to introduce a joke. Mulaney’s album, recorded and produced flawlessly, contains very little of your run of the mill comedic segways, but his subject matter is often that which we’ve heard from nearly every comic ever. I guess it’s up to you to decided whether that’s bad or a solid example of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

I think the opening joke for any comic is the key to a set. This is where we see how high/low brow the comedy will get as well as a true feel for your style overall. Mulaney opens strongly with “Blacking Out and Making Money,” a long bit about Mulaney’s experience with alcohol. his use of sarcasm strong, yet not annoying and the bit about drinking as a child is likely to have anyone rolling on the floor. As the set continues, Mulaney will likely recall the vocal inflections of Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black, but the material is much more direct and lasting. There’s very few cheap one off lines here and rather atmospheric build up to create the ultimate punchline. Bits like, “Chase Through a Subway” and “You Know Who’s A Great Lady” will resonate with listeners and likely end up being used by people as conversation starters. That’s kind of the magic behind Mulaney, he sounds like that new friend you make who has all these real life tales to share that make you laugh because you can relate. He just puts the everyday comedy of life in the light and it’s terrific.

Simple, yet creative, John Mulaney has created a record that is sure to help him rise up through the comedy ranks. The Top Part is the equivalent to hearing Let’s Get Small for the first time and just knowing there’s something to Steve Martin. Find it. Buy it. See him. Befriend Him.

Score: 8/10

James Shotwell
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