It’s likely you’ve enjoyed John Mulaney’s jokes, even if you don’t know his name.
He wrote for six seasons on SNL (“it was great”), he starred in his own short-lived sitcom (“it was the worst decision of my life”), and he even had the dubious honor of writing a commercial for Ray Lewis (“almost definitely a murderer”).
But most of the crowd at Attucks Theater this weekend likely knew him best for two outstanding Netflix specials, and everyone was eager to see his newest routine at its Norfolk debut.
Mulaney packed out two shows at the Attucks Saturday night, and it’s easy to see why: he’s charming, he’s self-deprecating, and his comedic timing is so quick it can turn on a dime. He always has a funny way of putting things that makes you want to imitate his style, including saying things like, “so quick it can turn on a dime.” Whether he was talking about disappointment at the zoo, people-pleasing at Best Buy, or Ray Lewis reciting the plot of “Gladiator” as a motivational speech, the audience was rapt the entire time.
There was some great spontaneous material as well; Mulaney spotted audience members fanning themselves and compared Norfolk’s humidity to a wet swimsuit forgotten in a plastic bag. And while he teased our city a bit, the audience showed him some classic hospitality. After he accidentally described a gorilla that owned a zoo— rather than vice versa— one man seemed to genuinely try and encourage him with, “You’re doing a good job!” It’s a credit to Norfolk that our audiences can get the comedian laugh.
Mulaney’s show has moved on from Norfolk, but don’t worry— it’s popular enough that they keep adding more stops, including visits to Richmond and DC. And if you want to see if he’s as good as I say (and he really is), check him out on Netflix or his recent appearance on Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
I’d also keep an eye out for comedian Max Silvestri, a Brooklyn stand-up artist who gave a hilarious opening act.