Mulaney Spars With Lanternflies

Sarah Santorum

As the line for the Finn surpassed the football field on Lancaster Avenue, eager students and parents awaited the performance of the esteemed comedian, John Mulaney. With many waiting well over an hour to take their seats, the expectations were high, as this was Villanova’s first major act to come to Family Weekend in years. After the crowd filled the Arena, the opener, Seaton Smith, took to the stage. Seaton playfully touched on politics, Villanova’s student demographics, and ended with a humorously uncomfortable exchange with University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A, Ph.d. With laughter roaring throughout the Finn, Seaton successfully warmed the crowd for Mulaney’s act. 

Striding into his performance with ease and command over the crowd, Mulaney successfully navigated his segment and exceeded all expectations. “I have been to over 150 cities and someone asked me if there is any place I haven’t been that I wanna go,” Mulaney said. “There is one place…have you heard of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania?” 

Mulaney kicked it off with some light and family-friendly jokes which were applicable to Villanova students and their parents. From buying alcohol for minors to gossiping with his wife, Anna, Mulaney phenomenally related to his audience. He tactfully illustrated Family Weekend and the shared awkwardness of the student body as they watch their parents stand in line for Kelly’s Taproom. 

“I don’t mean to make fun of any of you,” Mulaney saids after spending the past 10 minutes jesting with a few front-row students “not with this lanternfly crisis on campus.” Mulaney proceeded to read The Villanovan’s recent article on the lanternfly takeover. Referencing this nuanced local problem sent the crowd into a consistent roar of laughter. 

Mulaney’s ability to transform irrelevant details and benign subjects into witty material captivated the audience and displayed his unparalleled comedic talent. Continuing his playful critique of the article, Mulaney discusses the invasive threat of the lanternflies on the college’s ecosystem. “What are we in the Serengeti all of sudden?” Mulaney continues “You’re a college you don’t have an ecosystem.” As Mulaney completed this bit on a local Villanova fiasco, the audience struggled to catch their breath between its laughter. 

Mulaney closed the performance with stories about his wife’s obsession with Marie Kondo and a Kanye West T-shirt as a weapon. Mulaney concluded with a hilarious allusion to Stephen King’s IT. In reference to his discussion with Ray Lewis, Mulaney certainly “captured” the crowd and acted as the ideal performer to finish Family Weekend.