Meet John Mulaney, king of the nerds. In his new stand-up set, the 29-year-old Saturday Night Live writer recalls in loving detail the classroom bullying that prepared him for his career as a champion self-mocker. Today Mulaney has a Seinfeldian eye for routine absurdities – nitpicking Ice-T's line readings on Law & Order: SVU, copy-editing a panhandler's sidewalk pitch, questioning the vocabulary used in tabloid headlines. ("No one has said 'bozo' in a thousand years. Who was your source on that, New York Post? Some tiny old lady that chain smokes all day long?") But he reserves his greatest scorn for his own miscues, like when he spends nine minutes reliving a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to procure a Xanax prescription. If Mulaney's self-portrait doesn't quite reach the zany heights of his finest SNL creations, he has an odd charm of his own that's undeniable.
Listen to "Old Gay Man":
• Photos: Random Notes