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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Everybody’s in L.A.: John Mulaney’s Chaotic Gem of Late Night TV

Updated: 14 hours ago

Appointment TV.

Seems like the concept barely exists anymore. Now that you can stream whatever you want whenever you want, people rarely watch the same show at the same time. The last one I can think of that wasn't sports-related was the Game of Thrones finale (and let's never speak of that atrocity again).

However, last month, John Mulaney hosted a talk show in conjunction with the Netflix Is a Joke festival (which also had the epic pool pic of comedians). This limited series was the definition of appointment TV: it was of-the-moment live chaos that you had to see to believe. And I actually watched it every night it aired, planning my day around 10pm ET so that I didn't miss a single second of it.

The basic premise of the show is that John hosts some comedians and a local expert in the topic of the night as they dive into a Los Angeles-based subject with aplomb. There is also a musical guest for each episode and pre-taped segments (which are typically my favorite part haha).

Each night was unique in that you never knew what you were going to get, especially with people calling in to give their take on the topic at hand—and John always asking them what car they drive. He drives a Ford Bronco, naturally, given his love of the OJ trial, and that car chase features heavily in the episode about helicopters.

There were some consistent elements that kept everything from falling apart: the announcer, the delivery robot, the chyrons, and John's impeccable wardrobe that was reminiscent of Johnny Carson and David Letterman (one of his guests, in fact, in episode 5). John also starts every episode telling us the time and the weather in LA that helped ground the viewer that this is happening right now.

Richard Kind and John have a wonderful rapport, and they have worked together on numerous projects (Documentary Now's Co-op musical episode that John wrote, as father and son on Big Mouth, and Girl Talk with Richard Kind in The Sack Lunch Bunch). Because of their past interactions, it only makes sense that John gave the role of announcer to Richard, and he is absolutely delightful to watch.

Giving Lover

Richard also carries a grudge against the second recurring element and my personal favorite: Saymo, the delivery robot!

Beep Boop Beep Looking Ass Boy

Richard Kind may not take kindly (ha!) to robots, but Saymo is clearly the star of the show. Based on robotic delivery carts that apparently exist in LA, Saymo proudly waves an Everybody's in LA flag and distributes ginger ale and snacks to the show's guests.

Perhaps you've noticed the funny captions for Richard and Saymo? Well, that's the third recurring element of the show: snarky chyrons. Here's an amazing compilation of the best ones, but I think the caption that had me cackling the most was John wearing a green blazer and this note appearing below his name:

Apparently won the Masters

John's wardrobe is the final piece that kept the show vibrant and moving—he donned 11 different outfits per this article that features an interview with his stylist Michael Fisher. I loved seeing him embrace all kinds of suits, from separates to a matching powder-blue ensemble—and of course impeccably tailored.

All of those elements plus a kick-ass intro theme in the form of Wang Chung with the gorgeous cinematography showcasing LA sites and locals made for an incredible run.

Let's take a look at each episode and what was most memorable in the series!

Episode 1: Coyotes

  • best moment: John testing (and eventually breaking) the ceiling fan pull in every room during the HGTV parody

  • funniest bit: John’s LA monologue

Episode 2: Palm Trees

  • best moment: Jon Stewart being scared of Saymo

  • funniest bit: John asks Kelly, a woman who called in to discuss her running route being affected by the lack of shade from palms, what car she drives.

Her response? “I DOOO!”

Episode 3: Helicopters (sunglasses night 😎)

  • best moment: Patton Oswalt taking off his glasses to reveal a second pair of glasses

  • funniest bit: Zoey Tur's OJ joke (brutal)

Episode 4: Ghosts (my favorite of all)

  • best moment: Weezer playing "Buddy Holly" (HOW is the Blue Album 30 years old?! I'm ancient haha)

  • funniest bit: George and Gil, baby! I absolutely ADORE Oh, Hello, and anything with John and Nick riffing off each other is always fun to watch.

The Boys throughout the years (Kroll Show and EiLA)

Episode 5: Earthquakes

  • best moment: David Letterman and Luenell sharing a white blanket

  • funniest bit: Hot Daddy with Pete Davidson and Bill Hader (they are NOT wrong...John looks better than ever!)

Episode 6: LA

  • best moment: Saymo montage (very Wall-E)

  • funniest bit: LA mayor calling in and Hannah Gadsby reaming her out about sustainability

All in all, the live late-night show formula in the age of streaming has been solved, and John's show has some promising award nominations in its future, including talk of the Emmys once again (John won one last year for Baby J).

Plus, apparently Chris Storer of The Bear is a huge fan of Everybody's in LA and wrote a glowing review about it here. Chris explains the vibe of the show much better than I can:

He’s a deeply interested, deeply curious person, and he’s also one of the smartest people I know, and he’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of film. You can see the influences and some of the interstitials in the show, but also the way that it cut with some of the comedy bits, and then the guests that he has on the show. Every second of it felt so alive and like you were sort of dropped into the weirdest dinner party you’ve ever been to; it felt kind of dangerous, but at the same time also felt like it could spontaneously combust at any moment.

John even just won an Innovator Award recently at the IndieWire Honors for his talk show! Amazing.

I'm thrilled to see John continuing to succeed post-rehab, and here's hoping he takes this concept to other major comedy events.

Everybody's in Montreal or Everybody's in Edinburgh, anyone?


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