Leading up to its release, John Mulaney’s latest work, a “traditional” children’s musical TV special called “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”, really had us pondering how much would this be for kids and how much this would be subversively and meta-textually be for adults.
We are not kids here at TCB and haven’t been for quite some time, so we can’t speak to their reception of it (we suspect the very charming performances by the kids here would indeed delight other kids), but boy-oh-boy, John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch is so, so damn funny to us grown-ups.
Mulaney and co. do their due diligence and including all the traditional trappings of a children’s special with musical numbers, fun, loose choreography, and colorful, interactive interstitials. However, several threads of hilariously bizarre self-awareness (i.e. Mulaney making fun of the fact that he and his very hyper specific sense of humor are making a children’s special) that run rampant throughout the Sack Lunch Bunch. The absurdity of the premise is even twisted further with both genuine moments (the kids of the Sack Lunch Bunch earnestly discussing their fears) and the inclusion of other perfectly out-of-place guests like Richard Kind, David Byrne, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Even the interstitials get their own weird twist with trivia that almost no kid (and maybe some adults) today would know.
Somehow, Mulaney has outdone himself yet again with John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch, which is quite the feat following his stand-up specials and Oh, Hello. In fact, if Lorne Michaels ever steps down from SNL and John’s up for it, Mulaney now has got our vote for running SNL.
John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch is now streaming on Netflix. Go watch it and bring yourself some joy.