By Neil Goldenthal, Multimedia Editor
On Friday night, comedian John Mulaney kicked off his three-show stint in Philly with a night of thunderous laughter at the Academy of Music. Mulaney was accompanied by Max Silvestri of Brooklyn 99, who opened the show with a surprisingly entertaining 45-minute routine. Silvestri told stories about life in New York, such as the struggles of living across from an elementary schoolyard, and poked fun at his own effeminate personality and inability to relate to other men. All of the stories had a relatable undertone of self-deprecation that resonated with the audience. His opener was in no way a speed bump on the way to the main show, as so many are.
Silvestri left the audience primed for Mulaney to take the stage in a velvet jacket and shoes that shined in the back of the Academy. He began his set by simultaneously doting on Philly while also admitting that some of his worst moments had been in the city. The 35-year-old employed his clever comedic tactics to take the audience back to his days as a drug addict, neither glorifying or pitying himself and keeping an otherwise heavy topic light-hearted and playful. The comic then moved onto making fun of the anti-drug and violence speeches given at his elementary school and the detective that gave them advice for “when, not if, they were kidnapped”. Following his way down the educational path, Mulaney moved onto venting about how he spent $120,000 for a degree in a language he already spoke. The dig at higher education certainly got laughs from the young crowd in the theater.
The crowning bit of the night was Mulaney’s jab at our commander in chief, comparing Trump in the White House to a horse being let loose in a hospital. The elaboration of the joke that Mulaney had teased on The Late Show brought down the house with every line. While the bit certainly didn’t praise Trump, Mulaney remained playful without crossing the line of divisiveness, striking a point of frustration that seems to be emanating from both political sides on a national level.
Overall, the show was fantastic. Though it may have been unconventional to see a standup comedian occupy the stage of an ornate venue such as the Academy, Mulaney and Silvestri gave the audience a night of clever laughs and relatable experiences that made the tumultuous world outside fade away for a couple hours.
Neil Goldenthal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.