On February 14, comedian John Mulaney visited Late Night With Seth Meyers ahead of the musical episode of IFC's Documentary Now!, which Mulaney and Meyers co-wrote.
Mulaney made his Broadway debut alongside Nick Kroll in their comedy Oh, Hello on Broadway and recently appeared in The 24-Hour Musicals, but Mulaney has been a fan of theatre—especially musicals—since childhood.
“I remember seeing Les Misérables, which means ‘The Miserables,’ and I was seven and there’s a seven-year-old suddenly onstage,” he recalled. “This kid Gavroche comes out and he has a song he goes [singing] ‘Good evening dear inspector lovely evening my dear,’ and I was like, ‘What? How come he gets to...?’ I was apoplectic.”
Later that year, Mulaney met the young actor who was understudying Gavroche in the Chicago production of the Schonberg-Boublil musical. “So I think, 'I take this guy out and then I'm one away from the main event,'” Mulaney joked. He never did end up onstage, then or in high school. “I was the Florence Foster Jenkins of my high school,” he said. Instead he worked in the lighting booth, and played pranks on his crew-mates.
But Mulaney applies his love for musicals in the upcoming episode of Documentary Now!, the series executive produced by Seth Meyers, created by Rhys Thomas, directed by Alex Buono, and produced by Bill Hader and Fred Arimisen.
The series spoofs a famous documentary in each half-hour episode, premiering in 2015 with a riff on Grey Gardens that became Sandy Passage. Now in its third season, which premieres February 20, Documentary Now! will spoof Original Cast Album: Company. In reality, the 1970 documentary shows the intense recording of the cast album for the Stephen Sondheim musical. In Documentary Now!, the documentary becomes Original Cast Album: Co-Op and stars Mulaney, Taran Killam (Hamilton), and James Urbaniak as three producers overseeing the fictional recording. Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton), Richard Kind (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and Alex Brightman (Beetlejuice, School of Rock) play Co-Op’s stars.
Mulaney and Meyers shared their songwriting process for the original tunes in the upcoming episode. “What I would do is I would take a melody that already existed and was copyrighted and I'd add my own words and I'd say, 'How about this?’ And [composer Eli Bolin] would say, ‘That's already a song.’”
Meyers then played an actual voice memo Mulaney recorded and sent to Bodin. Watch the full video above and hear a song from Co-Op performed by Richard Kind below: