John Mulaney Discusses Transforming Addiction into Comedy and Relating to Matthew Perry’s Path


John Mulaney, in his Netflix special “Baby J,” fearlessly delves into one of his most challenging life chapters—the publicized drug relapse in 2020 and the subsequent intervention that guided him towards successful rehabilitation. In contrast to his earlier comedic performances that exuded more positivity, Mulaney candidly explores his struggle with addiction and rehab, aiming to deliver humor amid his difficult experiences.

Reflecting on his journey, Mulaney emphasizes his intention to present his story with a focus on humor rather than seeking dramatic or impactful pauses. His objective was to portray the bizarre and confident nature of his thoughts during his addiction phase, allowing audiences to experience his unfiltered perspective.

Fortunately, with three years of sobriety under his belt, Mulaney found support from fellow comedians and mentors, including Jimmy Kimmel, who encouraged him to remain authentic and unfiltered in his storytelling, even if it made him come across as more of an “asshole.”


Following the honesty and vulnerability showcased in “Baby J,” Mulaney has continued to open up about his personal life, sharing amusing anecdotes about his family dynamics, including his girlfriend Olivia Munn, their son Malcolm, and Munn’s mother, Miss Kim. While fatherhood doesn’t immediately lend itself to comedic material for him, Mulaney finds humor in the extensive conversations he engages in with his 23-month-old son.

“Baby J” received acclaim and Emmy nominations, propelling Mulaney into a spotlight that expanded further with the recent Golden Globes’ introduction of a stand-up comedy performance category. He acknowledges the burgeoning interest and respect for stand-up comedy, attributing its growth to platforms like Netflix and the audiences’ curiosity in exploring various comedians’ specials.

Acknowledging the universal appeal of his content, Mulaney appreciates his diverse audience, ranging from different age groups, and aims to deliver material that resonates across this broad spectrum.

Despite the comedic delivery of his stories in “Baby J,” Mulaney acknowledges their potential to strike a chord with individuals affected by addiction. Reflecting on Matthew Perry’s passing and resonating with Perry’s struggle with addiction, Mulaney emphasizes the destructive nature of addiction and how it destabilizes one’s life.

“Addiction is just a disaster,” Mulaney remarks, emphasizing the chaos it brings to life, analogous to a wobbly table destabilized by drugs. His empathy for Perry’s journey and experiences underscores the depth of understanding Mulaney holds regarding addiction and its impact on individuals’ lives.