“Baby J” John Mulaney proves he really is the Comeback Kid

Nicolas "Peter" Chavaria, Reporter

Following a rocky quarantine hiatus, to say the least, John Mulaney makes his grand return to Netflix with his newest stand-up special “Baby J.” Directed by Alex Timbers, this marks Mulaney’s 4th special on Netflix, his last being 2018s “Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.”

Coming off of his “From Scratch” tour, which saw a performance here in Bakersfield last year, the special, appropriately so, predominantly focused on the last 2 to 3 years of Mulaney’s life, more specifically his recurring addiction to drugs, intervention, and his time spent in rehab. Obviously being heavy subjects, Mulaney still finds a way to bring in the comedic angle and let the audience laugh at his suffering, not cringe…too much.

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The only “off” part of the special is Mulaneys’ avoidance with anything about his divorce other than it happened. Now I’m not saying the special should have turned into a mini TMZ gossip report, but considering Mulaney made it a point to talk about his now ex-wife in his prior specials, it felt very awkward at times how little he mentioned their divorce.

But for what the special did offer, fans of both Mulaney and stand-up comedy would be pleased with the material present. In true “John Mulaney” fashion we have anecdotal jokes from his youth, singing, and celebrity impressions so bad they’re good. While the jokes presented in the special are funny and entertaining, especially with Mulaney’s delivery, the overall premise of “I went into rehab for an addiction to drugs!” can become monotonous at times.

The special itself devotes around 20 minutes to Mulaney discussing his intervention, around 45 minutes to his time in rehab, and the remaining time spent on interjected jokes and stories throughout, and a final GQ interview that took place days before him entering rehab. For Mulaney fans, this may not seem all that out of the ordinary, but casual audience members may not have the same mileage.

This sentiment seems to be shared by not only the viewers but apparently Netflix itself. Despite being within Netflixs Top 10 trending shows, albeit at number 10, the special is hardly advertised on the platform. Not only is it hidden within the comedy sections of Netflix, but older Mulaney shows appear first before finding “Baby J.”

All that being said though, the content provided by Mulaney and his signature performance are enough to entertain the hardcore fans, and someone just looking to pass the time.