Having belatedly caught up with “Oh, Hello on Broadway,” I can confirm that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney are two very funny guys playing their exaggerated characters Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, a pair of boisterous West Side New Yorkers with a range of verbal and physical shtick that has won them an enthusiastic following.
Their fans have enjoyed them in sketches on television (“Saturday Night Live”, for example), and at the performance I saw there was hysterical laughter even at lines that escaped me. Furthermore, their calling up from the audience as a special guest Jason Mantzoukas, renowned for his FX series “The League,” resulted in cheers and further laughter as the three bantered about a range of subjects and references that seemed to thrive on lots of ad libbing.
I find Kroll and Mulaney funnier in manner and outrageousness—they are very good comics—than in much of their material. However, they often exhibit very savvy comments reflecting knowledge of theater, culture and politics. My favorite line was Kroll’s (Faizon’s) observation that Rudolph Giuliani was a hero at the time of 9/11 because there was no other mayor.
They can also get quite bawdy, as with Kroll’s talk about having sex with raccoons in Central Park or losing his balls and having them returned by a nice gentleman. Toss in a bit about soiled trousers, and you have the sort of humor that will arouse laughter in some and possibly make others uncomfortable. One can say that these cut-ups are an acquired taste.
Part of their format involves loosely acting in a random sort of play within an elaborate, amusingly conceived set (designed by Scott Pask). Alex Timbers directs the show with a clear understanding of what makes these entertainers funny. Their routines follow in the tradition of burlesque comics and other teams that once thrived (Abbott and Costello, Martin and Lewis), only updated to fit in with today’s comedy trends and the subjects twitted. At the Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th Street. Phone: 212-239-6200. Reviewed November 23, 2016.