John Mulaney is on a stage in New York telling jokes again for the first time since his Saturday Night Live monologue on October 31st, 2020. And unlike last time, this time he’s doing so 141 days sober.
Both Vulture and Showbiz 411 were on hand for the first of his five nights of shows at City Winery this week and related what Mulaney discussed onstage. And as all audience members were required to lock their phones in Yondr pouches, we aren’t expecting to hear or see any recordings of the set.
Mulaney started the set off by reading from an interview that he had done with GQ in December of last year. By the time the piece ran two weeks later, Mulaney had already begun his rehab stay, which he completed in late February of this year. He stated that he has no memory of ever giving the interview.
Apparently, after completing an initial rehab stint in September of last year, Mulaney relapsed again after hosting SNL. During this time, he did a bizarre interview with Jimmy Kimmel and took a job as a writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers, in an attempt to add some structure. This also lead to some cringeworthy appearances on Late Night as well. It was at this point that his friends staged an intervention.
Those who took part in his intervention included Seth Meyers, comedy partner Nick Kroll, Fred Armisen, Natasha Lyonne, and Bill Hader. “I was the best looking person at my intervention,” Mulaney allegedly said onstage. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans who’ve grown accustomed to Mulaney’s neat appearance onstage. However, Mulaney was also down to 105 pounds by then, due to the drug use.
According to Showbiz 411, Mulaney “interacted a lot with the audience, discussing a raft of prescription drugs he’d been given by doctors, or bought from drugs dealers– besides cocaine.” Vulture meanwhile described the show as “candid, loose, sometimes hard to watch, sometimes so funny it made the audience convulse in laughter, it was a writing session.”
From the sounds of it, this is very much a different type of set for John Mulaney. And that’s to be expected. It would be crazy and disingenuous if it was anything short of raw and unrefined. This is someone getting their life back on track, getting back on the horse, and performing stand-up again. What will be interesting is to see how this changes Mulaney’s act down the line after this initial run of shows at City Winery. Only time will tell…