‘John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch’ Children’s Musical Is Weird…And Awesome?
There’s a freedom that comes with being a child, a sensibility that makes way for a simple yet insightful view of the world. John Mulaney knows this; the Saturday Night Live writer, stand-up, and connoisseur of weird has said in the past that he was at his funniest as a kid. Now, Mulaney has put his affinity for the prepubescent mind space to good use, hosting the children’s variety show (written by adults for children), John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch.
On the surface, you may expect an ironic approach to variety specials and children’s television of the ’60s and ’70s and Mulaney is aware of this; at the beginning of special the tone is addressed: if it’s bad we should say it’s ironic, and if it’s good, thanks, we worked really hard on this. Well, it’s more good than ironic. Mulaney made this show because he was unimpressed by contemporary children’s television and decided to throw his hat into the ring.
This really is the type of television children should be watching; it’s unrestrained, smart, and spirited—it feels alive (even though they talk about death a lot). The music is cringe-worthy at times but in an inspired way, warranting a toe tap or two. There’s even a cameo performance by Jake Gyllenhaal as Mr. Music that should be nominated for some sort of award. The overall message of the special is straightforward (ending with it pretty outright): just be yourself. Even though the special is all about the kids (who kill it), in honor of his triumphant gamble and showing the rest of the world the genuine nature of his comedic genius, here are some GIFS of Mulaney being himself.