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John Mulaney: A True Comedic Genius

I started this blog late last night when I found out that former Saturday Night Live writer and comedian, John Mulaney, is now in rehab for cocaine and alcohol addiction. This surprised a lot of people because John has been a staple in the comedy scene for, I would argue, the past 15 years at least. I would like to use this blog as a testament to my favorite works of John Mulaney because every single person should know who this lanky Asian woman is. (watch his special to get the joke)

New In Town by John Mulaney on Apple Music

John has been one of my favorite comedians over the past few years. I first discovered him, like a lot of people, by his Netflix special “New In Town”. I was bombarded with waves of endorphins as I watched a man completely enthrall such a large amount of people with stupid jokes about his feminine hips (again, watch the special). It was such an eye-opening experience because I had always wanted to do standup comedy and seeing someone my age do it made me a little more comfortable with the idea. The funny thing is, I was 18 and John was 30… I thought he was like 20… cause he fucking looks 20 in that special. But I didn’t know his age at the time. All I thought was: “if that guy my age can do it, so can l”. 

I then proceeded to follow john’s career, looking at all of the things that lead him to a Netflix special, and oh boy, this guy is a legend. Let’s start with where john started. 

Saturday Night Live. His standup was the beginning, but I think a lot of people my age need to appreciate John Mulaney for his work on Saturday Night Live back in the late 2000s- early 2010s. Some argue this was the last time SNL was good, and while that’s a whole other blog, I kind of agree. Everybody has their opinions about what years of SNL are the best, but I think, the time with John Mulaney as a writer was the shit.

Think about all these names: Andy Sandberg, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen… I could go on forever. If this time of SNL sounds familiar that’s because of John. I mean these guys certainly carried the show on their own but, hiring John as a writer in 2008, took these sketches to a new level. My personal favorites are the Stefon segments.

If you are wondering why it looks like Bill Hader can’t keep it together and doesn’t know his lines it’s because he didn’t half the time. John and Bill would write segments of the character Stefon coming on to Weekend Update sharing some hot new clubs or places to go. However, right when Bill Hader is about to go perform the jokes LIVE, John would change them on the cue cards, so Bill was sometimes reading them for the first time live on air. This spawned beautiful segments of Bill cracking up almost every 15 seconds, unable to get through a joke, and knowing John is to blame. It’s this kind of relationship I love about John because he always knows where to find the funny for each person. 

Pete Davidson. Speaking of fun John Mulaney bromances, He and Pete Davidson are two peas in a pod when it comes to comedy. Both John and Pete have had their share of troubles with drugs and alcohol in the past, but they are able to get through it using the art of comedy. Back in 2019, after his split with Ariana Grande, Pete came onto some tough times, but that’s nothing a John Mulaney can’t fix. John basically took Pete under his wing and nursed him back to health through comedy. I mean, I’m sure they actually had some serious talks, but they also did a standup tour together. 

Watching these two perform together is like watching a stepdad take his 18-year-old to an R-rated movie while still being responsible. This later did prove to help Pete sober up and keep him on a good path

Standup. I would like to focus on one of his most recent jokes to accurately show how John makes the ha-has. In his newest Netflix special “Kid Gorgeous at Radio City” John makes fun of Donald Trump. Now I shouldn’t have to explain this but Trump being president gave comedians such an easy punching bag for these last 4 years. There’s even an ongoing “orange man bad” joke that basically is making fun of all the trump jokes. A lot of people now say how “it’s easy to do comedy now. All you have to do is make fun of Trump and you get a laugh”. And, in a way, that’s right… for the first year. After that, you needed to actually have a reason or specific take on Trump and why he sucks. This brings us to John Mulaney’s Trump joke which he probably did in 2018 when his special was recorded.

There are 2 things I love about the way John makes fun of Trump. First of all, he never actually says Trump. Maybe I’m hyping that fact up a little more than I should, but I really like that. Also, the comparison to him being a horse in a hospital fits perfectly. It’s siimple phrasing and we all can picture exactly what he means. He Is also moving around the stage a lot. You are following him back and forth like a watch from a hypnotist’s hand going deeper and deeper into the joke with him. I’m not about to sit here and explain how a joke is funny, I am merely here to share some John Mulaney gold with whoever is open to it.

Oh, Hello. This is my favorite thing John Mulaney has ever done. Period. “Oh, Hello” is a Netflix standup-play- improv extravaganza that is comedy in its truest form. He and Nick Kroll, who is a close college friend of John’s and also fucking hilarious, play two Jewish New Yorkers that just are old. That’s basically it. They describe their lives as old Jewish new yorkers so specifically, that you feel you’ve seen someone like this once or twice in your life.

These are characters that John and Nick have been doing for years whether it’s a small open mic, recurring guests on comedy bang bang, or fucking touring on Broadway. That’s right. That how good this shit is. I really don’t want to say much else about it because it would defeat the purpose so just go watch it on Netflix. Or watch John Oliver interview them for an hour while they’re still in character. It’s pure knowledge for anyone wanting to do improv.

This is just the tip of the Iceberg for John Mulaney. I really do hope he is okay and I hope whoever is reading this watches some John Mulaney show their support in these hard times. I wish to be able to see more of what this man is able to make in the future. From catching him in the corner of my eye at a friend’s house back in 2012 to hearing his voice in the newest season of Big Mouth just yesterday, This man has been a major role in why I love comedy and how it connects people regardless of what we all have going on in our lives.

What do you think?

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Written by Conall Lynch

Conall drinks vodka and chases it with a Granny Smith Apple. He likes to say “the mustache is just for content” but deep down wants to keep it.

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