‘Mulaney’ co-stars make the crowd roar

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Review Editor

Comedian Seaton Smith saw a crackhead pick up a rat and smack a woman in the face with it.

“I saw that with my Christian eyes. I saw a woman get rat-smacked,” Smith said as he began his lurid tale of an unlikely encounter in Washington, D.C.

So began the College Union Board’s fall comedy show, featuring the explosive personality of opener Smith and self-deprecating humor of longtime “Saturday Night Live” writer John Mulaney in Kendall Hall on Saturday, Nov. 22.

Smith went on to explain the origins of the rodent based brawl — a crackhead was holding a giant rat and upon seeing this, a woman told the man it was disgusting.

“I saw the crackhead pick up the rat and start swingin’. Let me back up, I don’t actually know if he was a crackhead, at this point, I just hope,” Smith said. “I hope there’s no man skipping doing crack and going right to swinging rats.”

Smith shares amusing tales in an engaging opening act. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer
Smith shares amusing tales in an engaging opening act. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer

When Smith admitted he didn’t try to stop this confrontation, he simply explained the silent agreement between everyone living in a major city.

“If you live in any city there’s a universal rule — when you see a mad man swinging a rat over his head, that guy needs some space,” Smith said.

Smith, who co-stars with Mulaney on the recent Fox television sitcom “Mulaney,” brought a bold energy to the stage, tackling hard-hitting and taboo topics with confidence.

The D.C.-based comedian discussed various topics in politics and his confusion with black politicians dating white Republicans. Before long, Smith recognized some audience members were not accustomed to his blunt sense of humor, especially when it came to race, political beliefs and the strings of expletives he used.

Smith also spoke candidly about the legacy Martin Luther King Jr. left on the world and the influence he had on his family.

“I feel bad for Coretta Scott King,” Smith started, referring to King’s late wife, then pointed to a couple sitting in the audience.

“Let’s say you guys are together for a long time and then he saves an entire race of people, could you say shit to him?” Smith asked. “No, you couldn’t be like, ‘Martin, you better stay home tonight.’ Bitch, please. Let me explain one thing. I am a holiday.”

In an interview with The Signal, Smith divulged about his recent transition from stand up to acting for “Mulaney” and how he would like to continue doing both in the future.

“They’re different sides of the same art form,” Smith said. “I like learning and growing and all that jazz.”

Smith will be on tour in the following months and has plans to release a new comedy album this spring.

Following Smith’s performance, a dapper Mulaney, dressed in his signature suit and tie style, greeted Kendall with The Signal in hand as he proceeded to discover what really takes place on campus via stories on the front page.

Mulaney uses a copy of 'The Signal' as inspiration during his witty set. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer)
Mulaney uses a copy of ‘The Signal’ as inspiration during his witty set. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer)

Mulaney got married this summer, and he and his wife Annemarie share their home with their tiny French bulldog puppy, Petunia. Upon hearing about all of Petunia’s adorable antics, students let out audible oohs and awes.

“You better get those awes out of your system, cause there’s a lot more comin’,” Mulaney teased.

Throughout the evening, Mulaney engaged the audience in this way, even responding to hecklers and picking people out to ask about their majors and time at the College, adding an inclusive feeling to an otherwise large crowd.

Many of Mulaney’s jokes stemmed from outrageous personal experiences while performing. He also detailed grappling with the unintended side effects of his slender appearance and friendly demeanor.

At one point, Mulaney looked back on when he used to perform at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick, N.J., and how he was nearly beaten up.

“I give off a vibe that I wasn’t beat up enough,” Mulaney said. “Some people give off the vibe of like, ‘Do not fuck with me.’ My vibe is more like, ‘You can pour soup in my lap and I’ll probably apologize to you.’”

In another account of the horrors of stand up, Mulaney said he once performed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on a makeshift stage of 2x4s that were lying in the dirt.

The people at the event were not a fan of Mulaney’s work and were more fixated on the beer truck that was parked directly next to him.

One heckler there finally shouted in a deep southern accent, “Excuse me sir, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we would enjoy silence more than the sound of your voice.”

Mulaney was captivated by how simultaneously mean and eloquently worded the insult was.

“If that was the last line of a Maya Angelou poem, you would just close the book and look out the window and think about what you did with your life,” Mulaney said.

He and his wife don’t have any children yet, but Mulaney believes kids have the most rapidly growing rights in America.

“Kids get everything they want now — there’s  two ‘Rio’s now, three ‘Madagascar’s, two ‘Happy Feet,’ two ‘Kung Fu Panda’s and five ‘Ice Age’ movies,” Mulaney said. “I’m not saying they’re bad movies, I’m just saying this is a lot of entertainment for an audience of people that if you put them in a room and turned the lights off and said ‘go to bed,’ they would go to bed.”

In an interview with The Signal, Mulaney elaborated on what techniques work better in stand up and those that work best while acting on “Mulaney.”

“Stand up is really about the people in front of you, and the TV show, even though we have a live audience, it’s a lot more doing it to the camera so that it’s to the audience at home,” Mulaney said. “Here, the live audience is the final word, but on a TV show you’re using the live audience for energy and as an ingredient rather than judge and jury.”