With a lot of standup comics in Los Angeles performing at the Netflix Is A Joke festival, the streaming platform is airing a nightly series of six live shows hosted by John Mulaney under the umbrella title, “Everybody’s In LA.” Unfortunately, Friday night’s debut episode should have been called, “John Mulaney Is Trying Too Hard.”

This is not a new problem. Even David Letterman had it on his first “Late Night” on NBC in 1982. In addition to guests Bill Murray and Don “Mr. Wizard” Herbert, there were bumpers in and out of commercial breaks that displayed different types of welding. Why? No explanation was given, but I’m guessing someone thought it would be a hilarious non sequitur.

Instead, it served as evidence of the insecurity of the host and staff. They weren’t quite sure what would work, so they figured if they had an overload of elements, they’d have a better chance of hitting the comedy target. While Letterman, head writer Merrill Markoe, and their colleagues went on to find the right style and pacing — and reinvented late night television in the process — they threw too much into the mix that night.

Similarly, when the Air America radio network debuted in 2004, many of the staff weren’t broadcasters, so they didn’t know what was expected of them. The first program manager was Lizz Winstead, who had been one of the creators of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Thinking like a TV producer, she hired a bunch of standup comics and sketch performers to do recorded on-air bits, but they didn’t work because that’s not what makes good radio. It’s important to note that the “Daily Show” that Winstead created was its first version, hosted by Craig Kilborn, which no one remembers fondly or can quote a single clever thing from. By the time Jon Stewart came along a couple of years later and refocused the show on satirizing politics and the media, Winstead was long gone (although she retained the co-creator credit with Madeleine Smithberg).

Mulaney and his staff could have built a clever little interview show featuring some of the many comics Netflix is presenting in LA this month — and even let some of them do a 6-7 minute standup chunk. Jerry Seinfeld was there as the first guest because he’s contractually obligated to appear on every TV show to promote his Netflix movie, “Unfrosted.” But Mulaney’s questions never gave Seinfeld a jumping-off point for some schtick.

Sitting on the couch next to Seinfeld in that opening segment was Tony Tucci, an expert on coyotes, which for some reason was the theme of that night’s show. Too bad Tucci had very little to contribute that was interesting, a problem Mulaney did not know how to handle. Meanwhile, you could see the confused look on Seinfeld’s face as he thought, “Why is this guy here?”

As if that wasn’t enough for the coyote theme, there was another comic doing a live remote from somewhere in the Hollywood Hills ostensibly to capture any roaming coyotes on camera. But there were none, and the bit flopped, which didn’t stop Mulaney from inviting viewers to call in with stories about coyotes. However, they were all pointless, too, and Mulaney couldn’t save that segment, either.

Other concepts thrown into the too-stuffed pilot — and remember, this was a one-hour show: a bunch of comedians going on a tour of a house for sale in the LA area (yawn!); a guy fishing in the Los Angeles river (double yawn!); a rolling robot delivering a can of ginger ale to Mulaney (huh?); Will Ferrell commenting from the audience while pretending to be legendary record producer Lou Adler; and video of a concrete truck stuck in the mud (hoo, boy!).

During the latter segment, there was a guy nearby putting up billboards, who said on camera, “I’ve seen all sorts of crazy things from up here.” Any decent host or producer would have followed up by asking him for some examples, but that didn’t happen here.

One sign you’re watching a very bad comedy show is when you hear forced laughter from the people on stage, but none from the audience members. The result is like listening to a low-rated wacky morning radio ensemble where everyone laughs at everything despite none of it being funny.

If you need another example of this phenomenon, try watching “After Midnight,” the show that airs on CBS after Stephen Colbert. Host Taylor Tomlinson and her panelists are prompted to come up on the spot with witty comments on various topics and memes, each of which are then treated as if they were the funniest things any human has ever uttered. They’re not.

One more thing baffled me about “Everybody’s In LA.” Because there were so many elements jammed into the hour, Mulaney was constantly complaining that the show was running late. On Netflix? This is not a broadcast network with hard start and end times. This is a streaming platform where everything is viewed on demand, not by a preset schedule. What would happen if it ran over its originally scheduled end time by a few minutes? Would some Netflix subscriber miss the first few minutes of a “Baby Reindeer” episode? Granted, that should only happen because the content is so compelling you don’t dare interrupt it — but there was no chance of that Friday night.

Mulaney will be back with five more episodes of “Everybody’s In LA” tonight through Friday. Hopefully, over the weekend, he and his production people did an honest post mortem on the premiere, and perhaps learned the same valuable lesson Letterman and Markoe did 42 years ago.

Less is more, so stop trying so hard.