This past weekend, comedian John Mulaney made his return to the Texas stage with stops in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, performing for his largest live audience ever at the American Airlines Center on Friday night. On his first tour back post-rehab, Mulaney aptly named his new show, “From Scratch.”
I had to do something I’d never done before when we got to the Victory Park arena — put my cell phone in an unopenable pouch and hold onto it until the end of the show. I typically try not to check my phone during shows, but the decisiveness of it was a nice change of pace. Well, until the show ended and everyone in the audience had to stop to get their device released from phone prison by AAC staff.
If you watch Saturday Night Live on a regular basis, or only when your favorite comedians or actors are hosting like me, you probably already saw a little bit of Mulaney’s new hour. On February 26, about a year after the comedian left rehab after a 90-day stay for drug addiction, John Mulaney was inducted into the Five Timers Club (people that have hosted SNL five times). His monologue at the top of the show was just a glimpse into where his comedy would be going from now on — and a glimpse into his recent, tabloid-mined personal life.
At Mulaney’s virtually sold-out Dallas show, the comedian walked out to roaring applause. He began with an improv joke, riffing on the fact that, before the show, he overheard someone say that they didn’t want to buy a souvenir T-shirt with some random kid’s face on it. The kid, of course, is John Mulaney, who begged the audience to buy them because they’d over-ordered.
The comedian was open and honest up-front, acknowledging that most of his audience knows about his past 18 months. Mainly: his relapse after being sober since 2005. Like his SNL opener (but in much more depth), he discusses the “Star-Studded” intervention that prompted him to go to rehab — a tale that includes impressions of Nick Kroll, Fred Armisen, and Natasha Lyonne. He also talks about having to break up with his drug dealer, who was never really a drug dealer at all.
Mulaney has always been able to interact effortlessly with audiences. He asked the crowd if they’d ever been to rehab as well, and followed up with a few audience members on their experiences, creating an intimate atmosphere in the large Dallas arena. He joked about how no one at his rehab knew who he was, much to his disappointment.
Mulaney has always had a way of making us laugh at the uncomfortable. In prior specials, he’s riffed on his parents and his strict Catholic upbringing. In this show, he touches on always wanting attention as a child, offering an example of how kids in school always got special notice when their grandparents died. You can see where this joke might go.
He does touch on having a baby this year (with girlfriend Olivia Munn). Mulaney ends with a hilarious, paraphrased reading of an interview he did with GQ magazine while he was high on cocaine in 2020. Fruit Loops are involved.
You can see John Mulaney’s “From Scratch” tour until September 2022. He’s headed to Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama next. Mulaney will also be performing at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival on July 28.