JFL42 John Mulaney Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON, September 26

JFL42 John Mulaney Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON, September 26
Comedy's clean-cut new rising star wowed Toronto as the JFL42 festival rolled on — John Mulaney, who's 31 but looks a decade younger, proved why he's been tagged by most as the next big thing in standup. The former Saturday Night Live writer, best known for co-creating the Stefon character with Bill Hader, started by riffing on his experiences in the city, wondering who or what "Bloor" is. "Was it a mythical creature that attacked the city and now you're forced to pay homage through signage?" he wondered.

Childhood holds a lot of sway in Mulaney's material — probably because it's closer for him than a lot of the high profile comedians at the festival this week — and he mined his youth for musings on toys that required imagination and the ways that children are spoiled by nurturing parents today.

Relationships were also on the radar and a chunk on the origin of the phrase "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free" was mined for some hilarity on both where it came from (the image of a Dutch boy surreptitiously milking someone else's cow and gleefully running away) and what it means now that he's engaged: "You buy the cow because you live with the cow in a small apartment and the cow asks every day when you're gonna buy her and the cow is a better arguer than you and every time another cow gets sold you have to go to the sale with your cow who spends the whole time glaring at you."

Mulaney is an talented writer — and could've been an excellent successor to Seth Meyers' Weekend Update throne — but plenty of opportunities are brewing; despite a high profile sitcom pilot last year that wasn't picked up, Mulaney is certain to be working outside standup very soon. Let's hope he continues to stalk the empty stage as well, for he has the potential to be one of the greats.