“Don’t Make Me Say That Out Loud”


The last time I went to church, I did so for the juice boxes.  It was the part of church that I looked forward to most: the after party, so to speak, those 20 minutes or so when the congregation gathers in the outer vestibule and murmurs politely about the sermon or football or what was the best color for a proposed new Ford Winstar minivan.  For adults, the beverage on tap was coffee.

For kids though: look out.  We got fruit punch.  And sugar cookies.  And after a 40-minute sermon about following in the footsteps of Jesus, my friends and I opted for a more secular route.  After all, damnation was just a concept.  And those sugar cookies and Dixie Cups of fruit punch were there for the taking.  Suck my sugar rush, moral relativism!

This week’s episode of Mulaney was the best of the show so far. Several viewers and critics have complained that the show Mulaney does not stack up to the comedian Mulaney’s swiss-watch-in-their-construction stand-up bits. However, while Mulaney’s New In Town special highlighted his talent for articulate observations and a superego informed by a pop culture, the best track by far is his personal narrative entitled “The One Thing You Can’t Replace” in which he tells the story of a crazy high school party which culminated in the bizarre robbery of a family heirloom. It highlights Mulaney’s natural storytelling instincts, a perfect mixture of sincerity, pathos, and wry wit.

In the Name of the Mother, and the Son and the Holy Andre” seemed to be a return to the comedian’s instinctive narrative sense. It wasn’t a perfect half-hour, but I loved that it explored the complicated modern feelings to religion.

Personally, despite my heavily lapsed Catholicism, I find myself jealous of people of faith. And I used to think it was because of the certainty they had towards the world. They subscribed to various philosophies and rules and had whole books and appointed experts who are able to further outline and explain those rules. But now I feel like I would be too bogged down in and aware of the various hypocrisies that accompany every major religion.

And yet jealousy does persist. I think it goes back to the fruit punch and sugar cookies. There was a sense of community and familiarity during those Sunday mornings in the church vestibule. It wasn’t about judgment. It was about community.

Mulaney did a fantastic job of highlighting how no matter how old and logical you get, no matter how much one’s faith my waver in the nitty gritty details, you never fully shake those feelings and teachings enforced when you were a kid.


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