Former SNL scribe, Stefon co-creator, and congenially funny everyman John Mulaney’s eponymous sitcom debuts tonight on FOX. Mulaney’s stand-up is a delight. He manages to be self-deprecating in a way that’s not overly dismissive of his intelligence and personality. His observations about the world and — more specifically —Law & Order: SVU (a favorite subject of his) are spot on. And, his old-timey radio voice is even more delightful to the ears.
After years of enjoying Mulaney’s stand-up and work on SNL, we were thrilled to learn he’d be taking his talents to a much larger audience on a sitcom. Unfortunately, the result is a puerile, overly self-effacing Seinfeld clone that’s going to need some major retooling to remain on the air. Luckily, building a sitcom based around a comedian’s act has been done before. This means there’s hope for Mulaney. Shows based on a singular brand of shtick have been around since the dawn of TV, and some of them are enduringly fantastic. Here, we take a look at some comedians who spawned shows much more LOL than WTF.