Lost in the shuffle of Netflix releasing Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None” and David Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s “W/ Bob and David” (the unofficial return of “Mr. Show”), is John Mulaney’s new hour comedy special, “The Comeback Kid.” Though Mulaney’s special may not get the same fanfare as the other newest additions to the Netflix catalog–Netflix did not send me an email notification that Mulaney’s special was available, which they did for the other two–it is just as worthy of your attention.
Mulaney wrote for “Saturday Night Live” during the Armisen, Forte, Hader, Samberg, Sudeikis and Wiig era, which, in my opinion, was one of the strongest runs the late-night institution ever had, and starred in the short-lived “Mulaney,” a flawed, but still underrated sitcom on Fox last fall. Personally, Mulaney earned a special place in my heart as George St. Geegland, half of the “Too Much Tuna” duo, on Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show.”
This newest hour is reminiscent of Mulaney’s previous stand-up works, especially when the comedian cracks wise about his boyish looks and tells stories from his childhood, but like many 33-year-old men, he is now married and a homeowner, which opens the door for him to apply his sharp wit and unique delivery to new topics, some of which might sound like they have already been more than adequately covered by other comedians, but the unique lens in which Mulaney sees and processes the world around him gives them new life. Pointing out that men are often less enthused about getting married than their future brides is hardly a new premise, but Mulaney’s bit on why guys “buy the cow even though the milk is free” is fresh, clever, and full of laughs from start to finish. A Bill Clinton closer might sound like it is 20 years too late, but Mulaney’s simultaneously rambling and tight delivery makes his recollection of meeting the then soon-to-be 42nd president the perfect conclusion to an entertaining set.
Mulaney’s latest effort is as strong as any hour I’ve seen this year. Even the score over the opening sequence and closing credits by Jon Brion, whose music you’ve heard in everything from “I Heart Huckabees” to “Punch-Drunk Love” to “Step Brothers,” is great. So, take time between episodes of “Master of None” and “W/ Bob and David” to check out the other new comedic offering available exclusively on “The ‘Flix.”