John Mulaney’s “From Scratch” Tour, Hilarious but Concerning

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In case you were busy, some Penn Staters took a break from the stress of midterms to engage in some laugh-therapy at John Mulaney’s performance in State College, as a part of his “From Scratch” tour.

Mulaney, alongside comedian friends Seaton Smith and Dan Levy (not to be confused with the “Schitt’s Creek” actor, also Dan Levy), performed at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sept. 25, 2022.

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Mulaney is a renowned comedian, but in lieu of a hiatus and massive changes in his life, his new tour presented a whole new side to the man we know and love.

Going Phone-less at “From Scratch”

The BJC has held many famous musicians, comedians, shows and more. Unlike most events held at the BJC, this 2-hour-long special was entirely phone-less.

The “From Scratch: 2022 Tour” utilized Yondr, a company that provides phone pouches that lock upon entry to avoid filming and distractions during events. You could unlock your phone in certain areas of the concourse and as you left the BJC. Many comedians, like Kevin Hart, are implementing this service to avoid distractions and focus the audience’s attention on the comedian, rather than a phone.

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An event without a phone is bizarre at first but being in a stadium with thousands of others––no phones in sight––engaging in laughs and conversation was incredibly liberating.

The Openers: Seaton Smith and Dan Levy

Comedy shows vary in structure, so expectations were weary regarding opening acts. Mulaney followed two short stand-ups from Smith and Levy.

Both comedians had a unique joke style, it seemed the audience preferred Levy’s jokes. Smith was hilarious and his paused delivery allowed the audience to absorb each joke; however, his joke matter was a little hard to find funny as he messed around about his child abuse and encouraged the audience to share their opinions.

Levy joked about more “family” matters and even revealed some top secret information from “How I Met Your Father,” a show he was conveniently fired from. He shocked the entire crowd and got quite a roar of laughter being the opening act.

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Although the crowd came for Mulaney, the two opening acts were great priming stand-ups for the main event— no doubt people were aching from cheek pain before Mulaney took the stage.

The Main Event: The Man Himself, John Mulaney

It’s no secret Mulaney has had a tough go in recent years. He wasn’t shy about talking openly about his experience with drug abuse, interventions, rebab and everything in between.

He accepted rehabilitation services in December 2020 and has been working on staying clean and caring for his new baby, Malcolm, with girlfriend Olivia Munn.

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Most of the show focused on his drug addiction and how he went from spending thousands of dollars on drugs to telling jokes about it. In true Mulaney fashion, much of the show was a light-hearted feeling, as he never got into the real nitty-gritty of how drug abuse damaged his life and reputation. Although at the end, he gave a hilarious reading of an insane interview he gave, of which he has no recollection.

He had a tough few years, and people weren’t too fond of his decision to divorce his wife and have a baby with another woman right after.

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But if there is one thing people can always expect from Mulaney is to make them laugh. His perfectly-timed joke delivery gives the best one-two punch; he always finds a way to wrap up his sets with a reference to an earlier joke, which results in a standing ovation and a roar of laughter from the crowd.

At Happy Valley, he did run into a heckler, Bessie. Per Mulaney fashion, he handled the heckler like a pro. Although it was a Sunday, some drinking might have been involved on behalf of our friend Bessie. Regardless, the show always goes on.

Overall, Mulaney’s performance was entirely different than his past TV performances. However, different in this case isn’t a bad thing––Mulaney’s “From Scratch” tour is his way of re-branding himself as a comedian and coming back into the entertainment world as his new, sober self.

People should be proud of his progress and hope he continues to shed light on dark situations and spread laughter wherever his “child-like, lanky body” goes. If you can find another show on his tour dates you can go to, we highly recommend going for a night of laughter and unplugged fun.

Let us know if you attended the show or if you would see Mulaney on tour @VALLEYmag on Twitter!

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