John Mulaney’s “From Scratch” is dark and hilarious, talks intervention and rehab

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Photo by Stephanie Overton.

If you’re a fan of comedy, then you have definitely heard of John Mulaney. Mulaney got his start working as a writer on “Saturday Night Live” from 2008 to 2012. He currently has four stand up specials that are available to the public: one on Spotify called “The Top Part” and three on Netflix (“The Comeback Kid,” “New in Town” and “Kid Gorgeous”) as well as a children’s musical comedy special called “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch.” 

Mulaney’s material has always been on the darker side under the surface, but his new show, “From Scratch” is even edgier.

This set follows what may have been the toughest year of Mulaney’s life. The show at the Park Theater here in Las Vegas on Sept. 4, was his first show back after a 60-day stint in rehab from Dec. 2020 to Feb. 2021. 

When Mulaney first walked out on stage, he immediately pointed out that this was the first time he had been alone (albeit with 5,000 people in the audience) since he got to Las Vegas. He joked that seven people escorted him down from his hotel room to the stage, one of which was his “sober buddy” while the others were three bodyguards. 

For a majority of the show, Mulaney’s jokes focused on his intervention and subsequent stay in rehab as well as what life was like for him while he was actively on drugs. He joked about the popular payment service app, Venmo, stating that “Venmo was for drug addicts and dealers, I don’t know what the hell all of you are doing there with your public transactions.” 

Mulaney talked about his intervention, but he told the story through the eyes of a Mulaney who was actively on drugs (which, at the time of his intervention in December of 2020, he was) and claimed that he was the “best looking guy at his own intervention” despite having lost weight due to cocaine abuse. 

He told the audience that he immediately knew it was an intervention because he walked in, expecting dinner with an old college friend, and instead saw 12of his closest friends, all wearing serious looks and holding letters. 

Mulaney says that the last thing he said before leaving his intervention and going to rehab is something that he is both proud and embarrassed by. He said, “Fine, I’ll go. I’m tired of being the funniest person in the room anyway.” 

With the exception of the popular “horse in a hospital” joke that Mulaney delivered in “Kid Gorgeous,” his material has not strayed too far into the political sector, but in “From Scratch,” Mulaney takes digs at the FBI with surprising aggression. 

He makes a statement about how the FBI operates, that rather than focusing on real and important crimes, they just try and look flashy by going after high profile crimes, such as the college admissions scam involving Lori Loughlin. “But hey,” Mulaney said, “at least they got Aunt Becky!”

Overall, John Mulaney’s new set is delightfully dark and twistedly hilarious. It is obvious that a lot of care and love, with a dash of cynicism, went into crafting this routine. Mulaney’s tour continues until early November, with only a few tickets left available at select shows, and if this trend of edgier material continues, John’s audience is sure to be in for lots of laughs.

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