Who Even Is John Mulaney?


Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews, taken on March 1, 2020, Some rights reserved, https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/photos/john-mulaney-bumper-photos/3445012

John Mulaney is a 38-year-old, six-foot-tall stand-up comedian who leads a simple life in New York with his wife, Anna, and his beloved French Bulldog, Petunia. He is known for his innocent look represented by clean suits and observational humor along with an old-fashioned edge inspired by his old soul. He is known not only for his stand-up specials that can be found on Netflix but for his extensive career considering his young age.


Mulaney has always had roots in the North East. He was born into a family of seven with two brothers and two sisters until his younger brother tragically passed away in 1986. After growing up in the Lincoln Park area, he decided to go to Georgetown University in Washington DC where he studied to obtain a degree in English. He has made remarks on how he regrets his decision to get an English degree in his stand-ups. Mulaney had a show at Radio City in 2018 where he said, “Yes, you heard me, an English major. I paid $120,000 for someone to tell me to go read Jane Austen, and then I didn’t.” 


Shortly after graduating from Georgetown, Mulaney decided to up and leave for the Big Apple to pursue his lifelong dream of working in show business. He landed an internship as an office assistant at Comedy Central where he stayed for about a year until he decided to go rogue and work freelance. A couple of years later, Mulaney was asked to audition for Saturday Night Live in 2008. He landed himself a job as a writer for four seasons. 


Although he only stayed at SNL for four seasons, Mulaney found a lifelong home in the SNL cast.  The show they made together was called “Mulaney” though it was short-lived and only aired for a season. Starting in 2014, the show’s finale coincided with SNL’s 40th season finale in 2015. He couldn’t bear to miss the 40th anniversary of a show that was so dear to him, so he sacrificed seeing the finale of his own show that he had worked so hard on for the past year of his life.


Mulaney’s mark on show business extends beyond his sense of humor. He also dabbled in doing voice-overs for cartoons. He did the voiceover for a character, named Peter Porker (aka Spider Ham), in the movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and continues to voice the character of Andrew in the Netflix original cartoon, Big Mouth. He even made a show on Broadway with his best friend, Nick Kroll. The show, “Oh, Hello”, now extends to a “p’dcast” hosted by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll in their characters, George St. Geegland and Gill Faizon. 


Kroll and Mulaney came upon the idea for the show, one day, when they were in a bookstore and observed two old men in turtlenecks and blazers who were purchasing separate copies of the book, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I’ve Learned, by Alan Alda. They were so mesmerized by the thought of these two best friends sharing this mundane activity. They were so moved that they decided it was worthy of their recognition and satire. Nick Kroll had three seasons of his own show, “the Kroll Show”, in which he featured their characters, George St. Geegland and Gil Faizan.


When just glancing at John Mulaney, he seems like a pretty average guy. As he once said, “I look like I was just sitting in a room on a chair eating saltines for, like, 28 years.” He is open about his alcoholism in the past in his stand-ups but has been sober since 2005 when he quit cocaine in August, and quit drinking alcohol cold turkey a month later. He used to drink so much to the point of blacking out at every party, thus “ruining the party”, as he was told. He decided he didn’t like who he was and stopped drinking. When talking about his past addictions in his stand-up, “New In Town”, he says, “That surprises a lot of audiences, because I don’t look like someone who used to do anything.”


John Mulaney is a fan favorite for obvious reasons. He finds ways to make monotonous activities of day-to-day life seem so comical because of his description and delivery. His work has something for everyone, from obscure references to things from the past to a comedy special he specifically made with kids called “The Sack Lunch Bunch”. He is genuine and true to himself. He’s classy with his three-piece suits, perfectly contrasting with the way he is not afraid to make fun of himself. He is admired for his articulation and ability to deliver stories and jokes without stuttering or stopping to laugh. In his 38 years of life, he has accomplished so much but is not done yet. His future is full of bright opportunities and he is only getting started.