The Vermont Cynic

John Mulaney


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 John Mulaney performs comedic act.  wikipedia.org

John Mulaney performs comedic act. wikipedia.org

You may recognize the name John Mulaney from his sitcom, “Mulaney,” but he is better known for his work as a writer on “Saturday Night Live.”

Here, he co-created the character of Stefon as well as his hilarious standup specials, “The Top Part” and “New In Town.”

John Mulaney’s new standup special is called “The Comeback Kid” and will be available exclusively on Netflix  Nov. 13.

Mulaney will also be performing at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Oct. 26.

Mulaney cites George Carlin, Dave Attell, Paul F. Tompkins and Mike Birbiglia as comedians who inspired him.

However, his influences stem from more than just fellow comics. He told me Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street” were huge influences on him when he was younger, as well as Preston Sturges and other fast talking comedies from the 1940s.

“Everyone had big voices, weird accents and talked like a crazy person,” Mulaney said. “Today everyone talks the same, not as many distinctive actors.”

Mulaney cites the Talking Heads’ lead singer David Byrne as an influence for the same reason.

“He speaks very simply,” Mulaney said. When he first started doing standup Mulaney adopted this type of voice, but later abandoned it as he felt it was too artificial.

Mulaney said the best advice he ever received from a comedian came from Ross Bennett, who watched him bomb at the Stress Factory comedy club in New Jersey.

“I walked off and he said ‘You’re very funny, but these people have no time for your cleverness and you need to get to the fucking point,’” Mulaney said. “I thought the point of the joke is the big reveal, but you need to set up your premise upfront.”

Mulaney also said that Birbiglia gave him some comedic guidance when they toured together.

“I got a ton of great advice from Mike Birbiglia,” he said. “He told me: ‘Standup is stories. You can tell a seven minute story with 100 jokes in it.’ I learned a ton from watching him.”

Mulaney said that Nick Kroll would be his ideal touring partner. Mulaney met Kroll when he was a freshman at Georgetown University, and Kroll was a senior in charge of the improv club. The two have worked together on the TV series “Kroll Show.”

Mulaney speaks highly of many other comedians, and cited Todd Glass and Dave Attell as two of his favorites to watch in person.

“My happiest memories are watching comics like them kill,” Mulaney said. His respect for other comedians proves that while he is successful, he is still a huge fan of the art and gets as much watching as he does performing.

 

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John Mulaney