Mulaney: “Pilot” Review | No funny for you!
So what happens when you get an SNL writer, the Seinfeld format and a Friends Alum together in a 30 minute sitcom? You get a show that’s trying too hard, is miscast and in the end only has a few funny moments.
Mulaney was one of my most anticipated comedies of the fall, the trailer looked funny and the jokes appeared to be there. It seemed to have a good cast of funny comedians attached and I was excited to see a Seinfeld like comedy on TV again. So it saddens me to say that it failed on just about all counts. The concept of the show seemed to be ripped right out of the Seinfeld handbook and delivered none of the pay-off. Take a sitcom and in-between the main story throw in a stand-up comedian saying his jokes. It worked for Seinfeld how hard can it be, it turns our very.
“Mulaney” is a semi-autobiographical series in the same way that Seinfeld was. John Mulaney is living with another comedian, Motif (Seaton Sift) who gets famous off of an offensive joke (about calling women “Problem Bitches”) and a girl who is getting over her ex and is just bitter, Jane (Nasim Pedrad). In the pilot, John ends up getting a writing job with famous but over the hill comedian Lou Cannon (Martin Short) on his game show. Simple enough concept to follow, but I guess not simple enough to pull off.
A comedies job is to be funny and for the most part Mulaney fails at its job. The jokes are few and far between and even the ones that hit don’t hit quite well because of the inexperience of the comedian actors. The best parts of Mulaney involve John Mulaney holding a mic and telling jokes to a pretend audience. There he seems to be the most comfortable and not giving a wooden one note performance.
You would believe that adding experienced comedians Elliot Gould and Martin Short would raise the quality of the pilot, but they might actually be the worst part thanks to the material they are given. They both play characters that you don’t like and aren’t funny. They are just kind of there as filler and not even the filler that you don’t notice, but the kind that is on screen to just annoy you.
Now for most of this review I have been being really hard on Mulaney and that is in part because I had such high hopes for it. But I’m strangely enough going to give the pilot episode a pass. Just because it’s the first time that most of these actors have ever been on a show and they have the right to be nervous. It shows throughout and I can only hope that it gets better, a lot better. The jokes have the potential to hit harder when the actors get more comfortable and the series could turn into something that is funny enough to watch. But as Motif says in the pilot episode “I think I have an 18-hour window before people realize they’re laughing at nothing,” I am giving Mulany two more episode before I decided if it’s worth my time.