John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch premieres on Netflix on December 24, just in time to gather the family around to watch a childless comedian with no musical ability (Mulaney’s words) goof around and sing with 15 rambunctious show biz kids (plus guests like Natasha Lyonne, Richard Kind, Jake Gyllenhaal, and a bunch of Broadway people who can actually sing). Appearing on Saturday Night Live pal Seth Meyers’ Late Night on Wednesday, Mulaney explained that his show’s name was meant to be a throwback to those “groovy” 1970s kids programs, where kids and adults intermixed freely around a New York City stoop set while, say, Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno rapped at a talking computer, telling Meyers that not all that much seems to have changed since he was a child glued to the TV. (Apparently children in our complex, confusing world are just as afraid of tarantulas as Mulaney was.)
For the vocally anti-fatherhood Mulaney, it sounds like the experience of making the special, while a hoot, probably didn’t change his mind about ever having kids himself. While admitting that the gaggle of 8-to-13-year-olds he eventually hired to be the Sack Lunch Bunch were “a little more mature than the people we used to work with at Saturday Night Live,” Mulaney noted how being trapped amidst the energy of that many hyped-up young performers was, well, enough to keep Mulaney childless for at least a little while longer. (And also that he shouldn’t request an auditioning young girl sing Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” without refreshing himself on the lyrics first.) The kids’ mix of childish enthusiasm for scatology (“Toilet mark!” gets funny after about the 900th time), and already jaded show business chatter (you’d better believe the red carpet premiere will be black tie), mixed with Mulaney’s songs (music by Documentary Now!’s Eli Bolin) like “Grandma’s Boyfriend Paul” and “Plain Plate Of Noodles,” according to Mulaney, will make up for the lack of the one electrifying guest star he couldn’t get. Maybe the sequel, former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis fans. Dry your eyes.