Old people make everything funnier
by Anneliese Weinhardt
Staff Laughter Lover
It’s no secret that plenty of artists draw inspiration from New York City. For some, the lights and sounds of the streets at night spark their next creative endeavor. For others, it’s the graffiti and other visuals that plaster the sides of skyscrapers. For Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, it was two seventy-something year old men shopping at the Strand bookstore, both buying their own hardcover copies of Alan Alda’s autobiography. Kroll and Mulaney were looking for ideas for characters to play as they hosted a comedy night in the East Village, and when these gentlemen caught their eye, they were led to create Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. They were so successful at that comedy night that Kroll made the pair recurring characters on his sketch comedy series, the Kroll Show, and Oh, Hello was born. After a series of viral sketches, Gil and George are jumping off of the screen and back onto the stage. Oh, Hello begins previews on Broadway at the Lyceum theatre on September 23rd, fresh off a national tour that included an off-Broadway run that New York Magazine said gave Hamilton a run for its money as the hottest ticket in New York City. Yeah, it’s that good.
So, who are Gil and George? They’re two old, crotchety upper-west siders with a passion for corduroy clothing and tuna sandwiches. In a recent interview, Kroll described his character Gil as, “the type of guy to bring beverages to the bathroom,” while Mulaney describes George as, “the type of guy you’d catch going through the coats at a party.” I can’t explain why, but when you see these characters in action, those descriptions just make sense. Oh, Hello tells the story of their journey into show business after receiving a letter stating that the apartment they’ve shared for over thirty years is about to lose its rent-controlled status.
This past March, I attended the opening night of the Chicago stop on the national tour, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed that hard. I’m serious. I think I left the theatre with more toned abs than when I walked in- however, I reversed any progress I made at the Salt and Pepper Diner the next morning. Kroll and Mulaney transformed a bunch of two to three minute sketches into a one hundred minute play, and not a single minute went to waste. While the script had me in stitches with Gill and George’s breakdown of key theatre tropes and dream ballet sequence, some of the gems of the night were simply improvised. Through pranking audience members and taking audience questions at a press conference, the two covered the birds and the bees, their history with their old pal Bernie Sanders, and called someone out for filming vertically on his phone (he deserved it, by the way. It’s 2016, film horizontally PLEASE).
Now, luckily for you, if I haven’t sold you on this show, you can get a better idea of our boys Gil and George for free on Comedy Central's YouTube channel. However, if you end up spending a night watching all of their online content, or a paycheck on Broadway tickets, don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you want to treat yourself to a pair of tickets, they can be found at ohhelloshow.com. You’d better act fast, though- the show only runs fifteen weeks and closes January 8th.