Fans of John Mulaney, comedy specials and / or musicals do not need to be persuaded to see John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch, but for everyone at the fence: when asked what “top New York moment” would be Child stars in a bag of lunch bunch turn directly to the camera and belts: “I saw a white lady standing on the street sobbing and I think about it once a week.” “I think I saw her too She says One of the other kids Mulaney replies to, “Oh, I doubt it was the same white lady. Once you keep your eyes open, you’ll see white women crying all over New York. “
Mulaney’s new Netflix kids special is not a Christmas special in itself, but it feels that way because of its universal compatibility. The “Sack Lunch Bunch” are all children and their songs are accordingly serious, but the material is also so unmistakably Mulaney (meaning full of niche interests and dry humor) that it also inspires adults to watch. To see someone crying on the street would come to every child’s mind. The fact that it happens frequently in the city is the joke for the adults in the room.
Directed by Rhys Thomas (Documentary Now!), John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch is an entertainment revue and an adult-friendly Sesame Street for (late) 2019. Lovingly produced musical numbers about various youthful concerns – the longing for pasta with butter that turns out annoy when adults are not careful – are connected by speaking heads, which by the question “What is your biggest fear?” Cameo appearances include everyone from David Byrne to Jake Gyllenhaal to Natasha Lyonne.
Photo: Jeffrey Neira / Netflix
There is no overall story, just a simple message from André De Shields: Be yourself and maybe everything will be fine. That’s enough: the special is a feast and an excuse to stage musical numbers (with music by Eli Bolin) in styles that parody everything from power ballad music videos to Broadway shows, of course, and people like Richard Kind invite Chat with children about growing up.
The format may be familiar – Sesame Street and The Muppets perfected it years ago – but John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch feel fresh as Mulaney updates the fun for the changing times. It has the same serious energy as the past children’s show, but mixes it with a sharper sense of humor. Elmo may sing about crying in public, but definitely not in the terms used here. What Mulaney knows is that this specificity turns the song from “funny” to “funny”.
However, this sharpness does not come at the expense of friendliness. The special serves as a proper reprimand for the idea that the comedy has become more difficult; The jokes that Mulaney wrote are not told at the expense of anyone, except sometimes Mulaney himself and large corporations, but they’re still funny as they turn into the absurdity of things like preparing memo cards for people who still are alive, dig in. or to say that an algebra tutor was recommended by “the rich parents”. There is also no feeling of condescension – the “adult” jokes are not because children are not smart enough for them, but because there are crazy things about them that children don’t have to (and shouldn’t) worry about.
One of the best things that came out of Netflix in a year full of great things (Irishman, I think you should go with Tim Robinson, Marriage Story, Atlantics), John Mulaney and Sack Lunch Bunch is a perfect debut at the perfect time , The biggest question that comes up during the holidays is: “What can / should I see with my whole family?”
It also feels like a remarkable advance in the development of children’s revue – its serious energy doesn’t rule out anger or a little sarcasm – as well as a next step for Mulaney. From the theater discussions in his comedy specials to “Diner Lobster” to the “Co-Op” episode of Documentary Now! To the All That Jazz parody trailer for this special, it is clear that he is interested in classic cars. school spectacle. After John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch, it is clear that if there is someone who leads this spirit into the new decade, it will be John Mulaney.
John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch are now streaming on Netflix.