On Friday, small town Clemson was visited by a big town name: John Mulaney. Somehow, CLEMSONLiVE convinced Mulaney to drive down Tiger Blvd rather than 5th Ave for a night, much to the collective surprise of Clemson students. Thankfully, both Mulaney and Clemson students had a great time joking about the University’s poor choice of building names, and the strife of being a college student.
Following a hilarious stand up by Carson Colenbaugh and comedian Max Silvestri, John Mulaney delivered a performance that resulted in a standing ovation similar to the opening acts. Walking on stage in a signature suit, Mulaney pulled the crowd in with his awkward charisma and heel-toe walk. If you are unfamiliar with his work, Mulaney has been a member of the SNL cast, has multiple Netflix features and writes for various shows. Although he has a large following, Clemson could only sell around 700 seats, the entirety of Tillman Auditorium. If you did not get a ticket, you may have been one of the multiple students jokingly willing to pay a tuitions worth of cash for a seat. If you did get a ticket, you either sold your spot for a large sum, or spent the night in a fit of laughter with Colenbaugh, Silvestri and Mulaney.
Mulaney did not disappoint those that were fortunate enough to get a ticket. I was lucky enough to see the Chicago native in Charleston last January on his Kid Gorgeous tour, and it was nothing less than amazing. Mulaney made me laugh so hard that I almost cried in the Gaillard Center, my sister and I bonded over our lack of breath. If you want a similar experience, I highly recommend his Kid Gorgeous Netflix feature, as most of the jokes are the same. When I watched the feature, I felt the same sense of joy and relation that I had during his tour.
When he visited Charleston, Mulaney commented on the city and voiced opinions on specific aspects of the town. He created a similar relation when he came to Clemson. Mulaney made various comments on the town, the college and the students, making the show feel more personal. Clemson is obviously a small town, attracting visitors mainly for our football program or academic success. If stars want to visit South Carolina, they mainly stick with Charleston, Columbia or even Greenville. Mulaney made the audience chuckle as he voiced that Clemson was one place he just HAD to visit. Thanks to CLEMSONLiVE, that “dream” became a reality. Knowing that there’s not much to Clemson besides the college, each student had an audible laugh when Mulaney commented on his presence in Clemson. He continued to comment (rightfully so) on our interesting building names, such as the Strom Thurmond Institute and Tillman Hall. His suggestion was to rename Tillman to Zaxby’s; something I think we could all get behind. Mulaney's suggestion left the students clutching their stomachs in laughter and agreement. While making students come to tears, Mulaney also commented on the college life, and even interacted with some students sitting in the front row. He made relatable jokes and even made himself pause with laughter once or twice, joining the students in forgetting about their stress for a moment.
Mulaney’s presence in Clemson was an honor, as he was not afraid to make fun of the college and its students. I know we would all love for him to come back sometime, because Clemson is obviously a big mark on his map now. Another thank you to CLEMSONLiVE for orchestrating this entire production, and to Mulaney for leaving his bulldog Petunia for a day to bring laughter to some stressed, tired and lackluster students right before finals hit us. Whether in Charleston or Clemson, I can say that John Mulaney continues to make me laugh and forget about my various essays for just a moment.
If you are interested in Mulaney, Netflix streams some of his work:
John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
John Mulaney: New in Town
Oh, Hello on Broadway
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