Since the start of the fall semester, in-person events have been happening more regularly. While some events or places have no vaccination requirements, there are a few exceptions that require full COVID-19 vaccination shots and be masked at all times. To attend in-person classes and attend in-person events, the Rutgers University-Camden community must comply with these requirements. This isn’t the only institution that has established these requirements, and events happening in the area have also set the same rules.

On the first Friday of October, I had the opportunity to attend comedian John Mulaney’s stand-up comedy show at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. This in-person show had the requirement of being fully masked the entire time and cell phones were locked away. These requirements were strictly enforced and every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance. 

While I was trying not to squirm in my seat due to the excitement of seeing my favorite comedian live, I wondered what his set would consist of and if it would include his recent personal struggles. 

However, after he ended the show and I sat in my seat, I couldn’t get over how truly inspiring and honest he was about his low points and how to make humor out of his ordeal. This was one of the best shows I have ever been to, and when he releases this stand-up special on television everyone should stop what they’re doing and watch it. In spite of the headlining news he made during the past year, he gave an astounding performance. 

In December 2020, his friends staged an intervention for him and he went to a drug rehabilitation center in Pennsylvania. Right before his rehab confinement, Mulaney and his then-wife, Annamarie, had separated. After his stint in rehab, he moved across the country from NYC to Los Angeles and began a new relationship with actress Olivia Munn, who is known for playing Sloan Sabbath on the HBO series, The Newsroom. While they have been together for around six months the couple had recently announced that they are having a baby together in September 2021. He has a lot of material from the past year to work with.

When he came onto the stage the crowd roared and he received grand cheers from the audience. I saw him on the first night he was in Philadelphia and one of the first remarks he made to the audience was how he already messed up. He had ordered too many t-shirts that said ” PHILADELPHIA” on the back, and emphasized that he cannot “sell them anywhere else.” He introduced himself and explained his situation of the past year and started his set off from the very beginning of building his life back together: his intervention. 

To be very open about something very difficult to deal with and come to terms with should be celebrated. However, Mulaney described his intervention entrance as terrible because he showed up over two hours late and carried a dangerous amount of drugs on him.

Throughout his set he talked about many parts of his recovery, his lead-up and stunts pulled while high, and how the nurse who watched him in the detox wing of the rehab center thought Al Pacino was calling him. Personally, one of my favorite moments of the night was when he flipped the switch and began talking about wishing one of his grandparents had died during the school year during elementary school. This shook the entire audience and took our breath away. The way he described how everyone has a favorite and there are the ones you can’t kill off because there is an obvious choice of who should die during the school year. I couldn’t contain myself; Saying something outrageous like this then making it humorous was outstanding and just mind-blowing. 

I have to give him kudos for his performance. John Mulaney should be a comedian that everyone gets to see at least once. He was able to make multiple comedy shows happen during an ongoing global pandemic. He kept everyone safe by wearing masks and kept his comedy a secret by locking our phones away. To go to an in-person event should be celebrated and whoever gets to go should feel joyful. Since coming back to in-person classes at Rutgers-Camden I feel a sense of normalcy that wasn’t there at my house. I truly cannot wait to go to more in-person events!