Welcome to our collection of quotes by John Mulaney. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.
John Edmund Mulaney (born August 26, 1982) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He is best known for his work as a writer on Saturday Night Live and as a stand-up comedian with stand-up specials The Top Part (2009), New in Town (2012), The Comeback Kid (2015), and Kid Gorgeous (2018), for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. Mulaney is also known for his children's musical comedy special John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch (2019) which was released on Netflix.
He was the creator and star of the short-lived Fox sitcom Mulaney (2014–2015), a semi-autobiographical series about his life. Mulaney is known for his performance as George St. Geegland in a comedic duo with Nick Kroll. They appeared on television and on Broadway in a show entitled, Oh, Hello on Broadway (2016). Mulaney serves as a co-executive producer, writer, and occasional actor in the IFC mockumentary series Documentary Now! (2015–present). He is also known for his voice acting work as Andrew Glouberman in the Netflix original animated show Big Mouth. Mulaney made his film debut in 2018, voicing Peter Porker/Spider-Ham in the Academy Award-winning animated feature film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
I like to pace onstage.
There are a lot of great jokes you can sit down and write, but that's just a written joke, versus the comedy of the situation. Ideally, you're pulling as much comedy out of the situation as you can.
If something is very, very funny but possibly controversial, if it's truly funny, then it's worth doing. Things aren't worth doing for the sake of being controversial.
When you have something that you did so many jobs on and were so front and center on, and then people dislike it, you want to learn lessons from it, and you want to move on, and you want to move on too fast.
Things have to be funny first, and if they want to have a point, that's awesome.
I never turn on the crowd. Sometimes, you think it's a terrible show, and then afterward, sometimes people say they really liked it. So turning on the crowd is only going to alienate the few people who might like it. What do I do in that situation? Get through it.
My childhood was completely dominated by Bill Clinton and the OJ trial. I don't think we had a family dinner where one didn't come up.
If someone had written a review saying, ''Oh, Hello' is stupid,' we would have said, 'Yeah, it is. You're absolutely right.' That people liked it was extremely cool.
Nick Kroll, A.D. Miles, Chelsea Peretti -- those were the people I was always doing open mics with.
It's important to remember that life is a joke and that outlook grants a lot of perspective, but I don't think comedy should change and become political due to other things. It should just laugh at that cosmic joke that life is all the time.
I don't make plans anymore. So I'm not living minute to minute.
My dad is and was very funny and had a really dry sense of humor, which, as a kid, seemed un-fun. But in retrospect, it's kind of hilarious.
The best-case scenario is everything goes perfect and smooth, but we're also a new and weird show. So all my conversations were, Hey last night didn't go perfect but we kind of know what we've got in store for everybody episode-wise.
I'm pretty self-critical about everything I've ever done: stand-up, 'SNL.'
Sometimes I -- with comedy, it's like someone liking you in high school. They either do, or they don't. And when they don't, they don't. And that's it. There are no appeals. You show up, and you're like, 'Hi! I'm -' and you stumble, and they're like, 'It's over.'
I really set out to do this traditional looking and traditional sounding multi-cam sitcom, but then make the world as elastic as an animated show could be. Make the world as surreal as we wanted it to be.
With the first episode of John Mulaney Show I tell a story that happened to me accidentally chasing a woman down the subway.
I'm a very straightforward person. But that's fine for a comedian. Because a lot of times you're talking about everyone else.
Comfort is everything. You start doing something and you want it to be perfect right away, but most babies are born ugly and then they shake it out and you get beautiful toddlers.
I never knew you were supposed to push off of your feet when you walked. And I tried it, and I walked much faster.
I have too many influences to name. I like a wide variety of stuff, which I think has been helpful. I liked every comedian I saw on TV growing up in the '80s. Every comedian.
If you're comparing the badness of two words and you won't even say one of them the n-word, that's the worse word.
Everyone's very relaxed about brand names in television.
If I was at the Comedy Cellar at midnight you yelled at the back of the room. But you, for television, play it to the camera because yes you're communicating to the people at home using the studio audience that's right in front of you as a guide for that.
A lot of comedy clubs are set up with people sitting at little tables and you have everything from the way they are seated to them ordering or taking a sip of a drink, these can make a comedian go harder and faster in a club.
Excuse me: I am homeless. I am gay. I have AIDS. I'm new in town.
I like to turn on the TV and watch whatever's on. Nick Kroll does that a lot. He doesn't watch important shows. He'll just turn on a documentary on Mia Hamm and watch it for an hour. Whatever's on, we watch.
I've done festivals in the past where I'd be a guest, it was like, Wow, maybe someday I could play Town Hall -- but that'll be a long way off. So it's very exciting.
My standup persona is like I'll heighten things, but I'm observing the world as it is in sort of a heightened emotional state.
I do longer runs on things, a lot stories. I really like one-liners, I like a lot of different kinds of standup but I've always been long-winded.
I've always believed that you often need less. You don't need to hear why people are friends, you don't need to hear why people are roommates, you don't need to hear why someone would help a friend to do something.
Occasionally you get that one person that says I really like that one part of this joke and you go, Oh thank you that's my favorite part too. But no, in order for it to be authentic hopefully you have jokes that everyone can just get on board with and then you have a few things for yourself.
Understudies don't normally get invited to openings.
I don't know if there's a strategy really so much as, like I learned doing standup and had to learn fast, you always just try to give your favorite, strongest stuff as early as possible and you start with what you like the most.
I think for many of us -- speaking for just a pocket of the country -- we trusted Obama. So when you leave your baby with your mom to watch, you don't run home and check the nanny cam. But now we've left the baby with Gary Busey, so we're going to be a lot more on it.
I'm a very lucky person. I'm an idiot, and I've shoveled through life rather nicely so far, so I don't feel like I deserve good treatment.
I've seen most of the major, important shows, but I watch them all at once, like movies, so my TV relationships are still with shows like 'Law And Order: SVU,' 'Shark Tank,' and HGTV.
I look back on being 17 and think, 'Oh my God, how did I not die?'
I just watched a ton of comedy and saw a ton of different styles, and eventually you think, 'Oh, yeah, I could be like that.'
It was funny to be an emcee, because you're so at the mercy of the club. You can show up for the weekend hoping to get the $400 -- and get fired. I had to prank whoever they told me to prank.
I love comedians that dive into politics. I personally don't feel comfortable, with my background, weighing in unless I have a take that I think is funny enough that I would put it in front of an audience.
I never turn on the crowd. Sometimes, you think it's a terrible show, and then afterward, sometimes people say they really liked it. So turning on the crowd is only going to alienate the few people who might like it.
As I got into high school and after puberty, I was a little more inward. I was a real extrovert when I was little, but I don't know, I just got quieter With my friends, I was still an extrovert.
It's important to remember that life is a joke, and that outlook grants a lot of perspective, but I don't think comedy should change and become political due to other things. It should just laugh at that cosmic joke that life is all the time.
That was an interesting thing I learned I think the first time I did a late night show or something. It was like, Oh, this is for the camera and a performance that you're giving to the people at home.
It's been very funny to try to act like an adult. Even getting dressed. Every day, I'm like, 'Should I wear a blazer and walk around with an umbrella? Do I carry a briefcase?' Because I'm trying to be some image of the adults I saw on TV growing up.
I like that idea that what I do might be mainstream. Might be.
I had a lot of fun writing things that died during dress rehearsal. Sometimes I remember the crazy ones that died even more fondly than the ones that did really well.
In every case, I find pre-planning noble, but not always that useful in comedy. You know comedy once you're doing it.
It's really fun to be writing and producing your own sketches. You almost have more control.
I always wanted it to be multi-cam from the beginning. In the first seeds of the idea, I wanted a live audience, multi-cam show. That was very important for me.
Maybe I just have high self-esteem, but I have a lot that I really enjoy.
I remember writing standup jokes without having done sets. But as soon as I did my first set, it didn't matter. Everything I thought would work didn't work. And everything I was iffy on was funny.
It's nice when you're nervous and everybody's like, Yeah, you should be nervous. Because a lot of times you're anxious and people say, Relax. Shut up. And that just feels like, Well, I guess I'm also crazy.
I stopped drinking when I was 23. I kind of started when I was 13, so it was a 10-year run. But I just became a bad, annoying drunk child, so when I stopped, I'd done a lot of things I wasn't proud of.
Being president looks like the worst job in the world.
I kind of thought, wouldn't it be funny to take a swing at being on the weird side of mainstream?
I was always the squarest person in the cool room, and alternatively, sometimes the weirder person at the mainstream table.
People having expectations maybe means they've enjoyed what I've done.
I have a lot of stories about being a kid because it was the last time I was interesting.
I like when things are crazy. Something good comes out of exhaustion.
Why do people shush animals? Theyve never spoken.
In terms of, like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.
In terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.
Going on the road for long stretches can seem daunting, and I certainly miss being home sometimes, but the chance to see so many different cities, let alone perform in them, is something I am really grateful for.
You can't always see both sides of the story. Eventually, you have to pick a side and stick with it. No more equivocating. You have to commit.
Stand-up for me is just my opinions on things, so it wouldn't be as fun translated into a sketch. Nor would a sketch be as fun if it were me standing there saying it.
The difficulty of getting a movie made through a major studio is so extreme that when a movie comes out, everyone should give it four stars because it was accomplished.
I like making fun of myself a lot. I like being made fun of, too. I've always enjoyed it. There's just something really, really funny about someone tearing into me.
You can do good work simply staying up all night and eating nothing but junk food, but probably not in the long term.
I plan to join the 'SNL' band as a maraca player and stand behind saxophonist Lenny Pickett. That way they will at least cut to me before commercial breaks. I'll be sure to look right into camera.
All my money is in a savings account. My dad has explained the stock market to me maybe 75 times. I still don't understand it.
The more you do stuff, the better you get at dealing with how you still fail at it a lot of the time.
As I got into high school and after puberty, I was a little more inward. I was a real extrovert when I was little, but I don't know, I just got quieter... With my friends, I was still an extrovert.