John Mulaney tailors laughs to Tulane crowd

McAlister Auditorium was nearly full of tired college students, waiting for John Mulaney to walk on stage at 8 p.m. last night. Known for his Netflix Specials “New in Town” and “The Comeback Kid,” and various other performances, Mulaney is a comedian for whom students lined up to ensure a seat.

Mulaney introduced his virtually unknown opener, Seaton Smith. While Smith has a more modest reputation, he made a strong impression during his 20 minute performance. Indifferent to the crowd’s opinions, he made fun of each presidential candidate without holding back.

Finally, after hours of waiting, Mulaney took the stage wearing a shirt that spelled “Jazz” as if he grabbed it last second, remembering he was making a stop in New Orleans.

Walking out with a script of “The Inauguration of President Michael A. Fitts” and a copy of The Hullabaloo, Mulaney cracked jokes only a Tulane student would find funny. He accurately mocked the newspaper’s campus question, pointing out that nowhere else is it fitting to ask “Where is your favorite place to get crawfish?”

Stories about Mulaney’s own college experience appeared all too relevant when he brought up the struggles of being too young to make real decisions and absurdly high tuitions.

Of his entire set, only two jokes were recycled. Mulaney hit common stand up tropes, spewing political satire and relatable childhood humor. The rest were fresh and catered to Tulane students, however. Less like watching a routine and more like a funny friend visiting from out of town, his set made fun of our silly school and left in a flash.

Mulaney also made sure to interact with the audience, further making him feel like that estranged visitor. After a full hour set he parted with roaring cheers and pleased students.

After the show when The Arcade had an opportunity to sit down with Mulaney and Seaton to ask a few questions, Mulaney said he felt at ease performing for college crowds.

“I like it because it’s different than doing shows in a theater where people got a sitter and maybe had dinner plans right before,” Mulaney said. “I feel its more fun to experiment, improvise and talk to a cool crowd.”

Mulaney and Seaton both spoke about how they come into college shows planning to make it tailored to the type of students. Mulaney currently plans on doing more standup and has written an off-Broadway with Nick Kroll called “Oh, Hello,” with future plans to head to Broadway.

When asked what else Mulaney would be if he couldn’t be a comic, his response was crisp: “Nothing else.”

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