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John Mulaney
© Mindy TuckerJohn Mulaney

Six reasons to see John Mulaney

This former ‘Saturday Night Live’ writer is one of the best stand-ups currently working the US. Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t miss his London debut

Written by
Ben Williams

This is his first trip to London

As a comedian, at least. John Mulaney’s never performed in London before, but he visited our city often while he was studying in Dublin in 2003. ‘I really hurt my foot last time I was there,’ he says. ‘I was visiting a friend at LSE, and we went to this club where people were paying, like, six or seven pounds for a Budweiser. I went down these stairs and just really messed up my foot. I might’ve sprained it, I don’t know, I never went to the doctor. So I left, wandered out and got into an unmarked cab. The next morning I was telling my friends, “I just got into this car,” and they were shocked. “What?! Those people kidnap you and sell your organs!” And I was like, “I don’t think that’s true…” But later some Audrey Tautou movie came out where that was the plot. Turns out my friends were on to something…’

He’s ‘one of the best stand-ups alive’

According to Entertainment Weekly. ‘I know it’s obnoxious,’ he explains, ‘but you understand that that quote can’t go unused when you’re putting together a paragraph to sell yourself to an entire kingdom, right?’ Does much pressure come with such high praise? ‘Well, that’s a measured amount of praise. There are many great comics who have passed on, and I’m not even in their league. So I mainly feel the pressure to stay alive.’

Our friends at Time Out New York have deemed him cover-worthy

When Mulaney played a huge show as part of the New York Comedy Festival in 2013 our buddies on the other side of the Atlantic put the Chicago-born stand-up on their cover. Is he hoping TO London will follow suit in the future? ‘You mean, I’m not on the cover this time?’ he says. ‘I’m only doing four shows in London, so this is more like setting up a sleeper cell. When I come back I’ll activate them, and then I’ll conquer London.’

He’s written a song with Mick Jagger

Well, sorta. Mulaney spent six years as a writer on NBC’s career-launching sketch series ‘Saturday Night Live’, and worked with some huge guest stars. When Mick Jagger hosted ‘SNL’ in 2012, the Stones frontman co-wrote lyrics with Mulaney for a song on the show. ‘I liked him a lot!’ says the 32-year-old comic. ‘People who have played arenas are very direct, and that’s very refreshing. I remember being really polite with him. I think I thought he’d be like, “What a nice guy!” and would call the other Stones and tell them that he met this really nice kid who kept asking if he needed anything.’

He nearly made the next ‘Seinfeld’

Mulaney left ‘Saturday Night Live’ to work on his own sitcom – the creatively titled ‘Mulaney’, about a stand-up comedian living in New York (sound familiar?) ‘I wanted to do a live-audience, old-fashioned sitcom,’ he says. But it wasn’t a ratings or critical smash and, after 13 episodes, wasn’t recommissioned. ‘We sort of crashed and burned,’ he admits. ‘But that’s okay. We got to do 13 episodes and it was on a network and everything, and that’s pretty extraordinary.’

He’s not the only Mulaney in showbusiness

His sister Claire has followed in her brother’s footsteps and is now a writer on ‘Saturday Night Live’. Plus his french bulldog, Petunia Tendler-Mulaney, has nearly 9,000 followers of her own on Instagram. ‘She’s doing pretty well for a dog that can barely breath,’ says Mulaney. Is he worried about her becoming a bigger celebrity than him? ‘No, she’s designed – and I mean physically designed – to be an internet celebrity. In terms of watchability and likeability, she’s off the chart. She should really be promoting me here.’

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