On Monday night’s episode of The Tonight Show, Emmy-winning comedian and comedy writer John Mulaney joined host Jimmy Fallon to chat about the Academy Awards, meeting Jerry Seinfeld, and more. He also told a couple of amusing live music stories involving young Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson and their adventures going to concerts together.
After recounting an experience going to see Bob Dylan with Jerry Seinfeld and Pete Davidson, Mulaney explained, “I’ve been going to a series of concerts with Pete Davidson. I love him very much, he’s a wonderful friend. So I go see Steely Dan—hold for applause—every year [audience laughs]. So they’re at the Beacon Theatre here in New York—Steely Dan, alright. Steely Dan. Look it up, uh, Steely Dan [audience laughs]—I go every year. My old roommate from college and I go to see Steely Dan every year. We’ve loved Steely Dan since we were in college. When I met my now-wife, I played her some of my favorite music, which was Steely Dan, and she said ‘What is this? I hate this.’ So I said, ‘Well then, listen to this song,’ and she said, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, I hate this song very much, too.’ … She hates Steely Dan.”
Cut to present day—”I get tickets to Steely Dan,” Mulaney explained. “Kevin and I are gonna go, we’ve gone 12 years in a row. I call Pete Davidson and go ‘You wanna see Steely Dan?’ He goes ‘Yes.’ End of call. … Then, my wife has been working really hard, she’s in graduate school, and she asks me, ‘Are you going out tonight? Because I just want to get out of the house and do something.’ I said, ‘I have good news and bad news.’ [audience laughs]. Yes, I can take you somewhere…but it is to Steely Dan. And she thought a moment, and she said, ‘OK.'”
“So me and my best friend Kevin and a woman who has hated Steely Dan for a decade go to the Beacon Theatre, and we meet Pete Davidson in front, and Pete Davidson says, ‘Who is Steely Dan?’ And I said, ‘It’s a band.’ And he said, ‘It’s not a comedian?’ [laughs]. So I said ‘Do you know anything about pop-jazz fusion?’ And he said no, and I said, ‘Pete… there’s no way I can prepare you for what’s about to happen.’ And my wife took Pete by the shoulders and said, ‘Pete, it’s gonna be awful.'”
After commenting on the overall advanced age (and grumpiness) of the audience, Mulaney explained that nobody stands up and dances at Steely Dan shows. Eventually, Mulaney explained, “Pete Davidson says ‘I can’t take this!’ And he turns to the row behind him and says ‘If I stand, will you stand?’ And they say, ‘We’ll stand!’ And Pete goes, ‘Alright!’ So he stands, so the row behind him stands, so the row behind them stands, and Pete goes ‘Come on!’ [motioning for people to stand].”
“By the time they’re playing ‘My Old School’,” Mulaney explained, amused, “the entire Beacon is on its feet, and [my wife] is dancing … So two guys that love Steely Dan, a guy that didn’t know what Steely Dan was, and a woman who hates Steely Dan got the Beacon on their feet. It was a Christmas miracle.”
Watch the clip of Mulaney’s story below:
John Mulaney Took Pete Davidson To See Steely Dan