John Mulaney’s Kid Gorgeous is relatability at its best

The comedian’s third stand-up special prioritizes the human experience over politics

John Mulaney in Kid Gorgeous.
Credit: 
Screenshot from Netflix

Since the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the entertainment industry saw a dramatic spike in its production of highly-politicized content. Whether intentional or not, it seems as if art released today—especially in the form of comedy—can be spun to fit a conservative or liberal agenda. 

But John Mulaney’s new Netflix stand-up special, Kid Gorgeous, offers viewers a refreshing experience. It manages to largely avoid politics while maintaining a relevant and relatable narrative. 

Released May 1, Kid Gorgeous marks Mulaney’s third stand-up special—but you wouldn’t think it. Despite his relatively young age, 35, the comedian speaks with a kind of confidence in his new special that makes it seem as though he’s been delivering jokes to sold-out crowds for years. 

Mulaney’s ability to seamlessly transition from one joke to the next with such ease means there’s something in Kid Gorgeous for everyone. For example, he tells a long-winded joke about how he feels like a 75-year-old stuck in a 35-year-old’s body, just before he effortlessly segues into a bit about modern technology and the lengths we go to appease it.

As a Queen’s student, the highlight of this special for me comes towards the end. 

Mulaney talks about how his alma mater, Georgetown University, contacts him asking for an alumni donation, even though he’s years removed from graduating. Growing up, I’d hear my parents receive the same such calls plenty of times—but the way Mulaney explains the weirdness behind the idea of paying a school years after they’ve provided their service is phenomenal.

The unique thing about Kid Gorgeous is every person I’ve talked to about it has found different personal highlights throughout. Viewers can relate to Mulaney in their own, distinct way and it exemplifies the comedian’s consistency throughout the special. 

I personally related to Mulaney’s awkwardness while making small talk with acquaintances. A friend of mine related most to Mulaney’s random need to please every person he passes on the street, as if he is “running to be the mayor of nothing.” 

Mulaney evokes different kinds of feelings for different people, but that doesn’t create distance between one fan to the next. 

I related more to some parts of the special, while my friend to others, yet we still both enjoyed it. We just focused on the aspects of ourselves that make us think of the comedian as a friend, rather than a distant celebrity on a screen.

Kid Gorgeous offers viewers a breath of fresh air from the negativity we often see in today’s mainstream media.  Despite your best efforts, I can assure you that in watching this special, you’ll let out anything ranging from frequent giggles to huge laughs—there will likely be many of both. 

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