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John Mulaney’s “New York Musical” is a Love Letter to the City

Whenever John Mulaney returns to Saturday Night Live, magic occurs. Typically in the form of his musical sketches. First there was “Diner Lobster,” a Les Miserables-esque ode to the under-appreciated sea creature. “Bodega Bathroom” followed, and then “Airport Sushi.” For his latest hosting gig, Mulaney came equipped with yet another musical celebration: “New York Musical.” In it, he plays a struggling souvenir shop owner. Chris Redd and Pete Davidson play customers looking for mementos. Davidson wants to buy a pair of “unwashed” I ❤ NY underwear. And this unwise decision leads to a whole musical medley.

This whole thing is a treasure trove for musical theater fans. The first song—performed by Kenan Thompson as a minion—parodies “One” from A Chorus Line. Kate McKinnon shows up as a Bubba Gump Shrimp mascot who sings a “Send in the Clowns” riff from A Little Night Music. There’s an appearance from the “Diddler on the Roof,” and then Maya Rudolph shows up as Lady Liberty. She sings a play on “I’m Still Here” from Follies.

Next, a woman from Westchester with “visible COVID” appears to sing a parody of “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity. And then the whole thing wraps up with a rousing play on “One Day More” from Les Miserables, bringing it full circle.

The cast of Saturday Night Live sings New York Musical.NBC

It’s sort of the perfect John Mulaney sketch. A little bit silly, a little bit surreal, and very nerdy. It’s also a lovely tribute to the city of New York. A city that’s been through a lot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s New York!” is the sentiment the skit ends with. And it’ll always be New York. “I’m here,” Lady Liberty sings. She’ll continue to be.

We love whenever John Mulaney returns to Saturday Night Live. He’s got a brightness that makes us feel like things will be alright. We hope he keeps these musical sketches coming forever.

Featured Image: NBC