By: Nick Askam
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t follow Broadway at all. Aside from Hamilton and songs from Carpool Karaoke on James Corden’s Show, I’ve never spent time to listen to any from Broadway. It’s actually quite sad that I haven’t seen more. With that being said, I love John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, so I had to watch this performance that was on Netflix.
For those of you who don’t know, which is probably a lot. The plot of Oh, Hello is quite simple. It’s an improv show featuring two old dudes. Their names are Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll) and George St. Geegland (John Mulaney), and they’ve been residents of New York City for many years. They’re living out their life’s dream to play at a prominent theatre. Through the start of the play, we learn more and more about our two characters and each plot point is introduced slowly to allow for jokes and ad-lib in the interim.
It’s a rather brilliant idea to showcase their ideas of theatre and what they believe New York City to be. I was captivated by their performances and how well they went off of one another. It was apparent that Kroll and Mulaney have worked on many other projects in the past and it showed. The interaction with celebrities like Steve Martin and Matthew Broderick were fun to watch. I felt as if they were entering the world of Gil and George when they took the stage.
The structure of the play is different to say the least. It starts off as Gil and George letting the audience know where they got their props and what the play before they perform it. It’s an easy way for most of their fans to fully understand what’s happening before it happens. I was pleased at the relative ease it was to get the play once it started. As mentioned before, I am not a Broadway fan, so I might’ve been confused if I had only seen the actual play from them. I also felt like it was a great way to introduce and gain empathy for our characters.
The way the play was structured also allowed for this feeling of a play inside a play. It was obvious that these characters had a presence outside of what was going on. I loved the way that they were able to reveal story elements as the play went on. It was thoughtful and made their whole act approachable and more hilarious.
I think whether you like this play or not will depend on how you feel about Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. As a fan of both throughout their careers, I thought Oh, Hello was an easy way for these two to show off their next move. Their step away from doing something formulaic is interesting and keeps me watching. As they dance and act on stage, I’m reminded on why these are some of my favorite comedians on stage. I constantly think that they can’t get better and then something like this comes out.
I originally found out about the play from a WTF podcast with Marc Maron with them on it months ago. Unfortunately, I am located in Dallas, Texas and was unable to fly up and see it. I was so surprised when I saw this on Netflix and knew immediately that I had to get on this. I will say that build up set the expectations high, but with bits like Too Much Tuna and the amazing chemistry, I could not do anything but love this play.
I have been recommending this to my friends. I know that it’s not the most intelligent or avant-garde thing to ever grace the stage, but I think it is satisfying to watch and makes me want to watch their respective standups. If you’re knew to Kroll or Mulaney, this might not be the best place to step in. I will say that if you’re a fan of either, you’ll enjoy this.
Images from IMDb.com