29 John Mulaney Quotes And Jokes From His Best Comedy Shows

John Mulaney always is up for something new.

John Mulaney is an iconic stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and actor. He studied English Literature and Religion at Georgetown University. When he graduated in 2004, he moved to New York with the hopes of being a comedian and began working as an office assistant at Comedy Central. A year later, he pitched the idea of making a parody of I Love the ‘80s titled I Love the ‘30s. Mulaney ended up making the show with Nick Kroll. Then, Mulaney was hired as a commentator on the VH1 show, Best Week Ever.

In 2008, Mulaney auditioned for Saturday Night Live and got hired on the writing team and worked there for six years. For SNL, he is known for co-creating the character of Stefon with Bill Hader as well as appearing on the Weekend Update. Mulaney returned to Saturday Night Live in 2018 and 2019 as a host.

After John Mulaney left Saturday Night Live as a writer in 2012 to pursue other comedic ventures, Fox picked up his sitcom pilot, called Mulaney, which he starred in, produced, and wrote. Unfortunately, the show didn’t perform well and was canceled shortly after, in 2015.

Mulaney then went on to write Documentary Now!, Oh, Hello on Broadway, and the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco. He also took on roles on television shows like Crashing, Difficult People, and Portlandia. Mulaney also currently voices the role of Andrew Glouberman in the show Big Mouth, co-created by Nick Kroll. In 2017 and 2018, he and Nick Kroll hosted the Independent Spirit Awards together.

In addition to his television work, John Mulaney performed stand-up comedy as a headliner since 2008. In 2009, he came out with a stand-up comedy album titled The Top Part, New in Town in 2012, and The Comeback Kid in 2015 on Netflix, which earned him a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. In 2018, Mulaney released another comedy special to Netflix called Kid Gorgeous, from which he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.

John Mulaney also had a Broadway show, Oh, Hello in 2016, which was filmed and released to Netflix in 2017.

More recently, in 2019, Mulaney released a children’s musical comedy special to Netflix called John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Brunch, which showcases Mulaney and 15 child actors, who make up the Sack Lunch Brunch, as well as special guests like Jake Gyllanhall, Richard Kind, and André De Shields.

When I saw John Mulaney perform live, he had no new written material — instead, he came on stage with a stack of journals (about eight of them) and just flipped through them. He would stand on stage and try to decipher his own handwriting and then mutter “this makes no sense.” Every couple of minutes he would say a joke and see if the audience laughed or not. He did this for an hour. Interestingly, the jokes he read aloud that night have either made their way into the Kid Gorgeous Netflix special or were the seeds for the jokes in that special.

I also went to one of his shows where he tried to make his French Pitbull, named Petunia, do tricks for the audience. Petunia got stage fright and couldn’t do most of the tricks Mulaney was encouraging her to do. At a small theatre in Los Angeles, John Mulaney said that instead of doing stand-up he wanted to show us the new play he has been working on even though it was in its “early stages.” To perform the show, he brought out Nick Kroll and they proceeded to act out their soon-to-be Broadway show, Oh, Hello with a script in hand. John Mulaney is one of my favorite comedians to see live because he’s always surprising the audience with something new and fresh.

John Mulaney is clearly incredibly talented and funny. Read on to enjoy the best John Mulaney quotes and jokes that will make you truly appreciate his joke writing.

1. The thrill of canceling plans.

“In terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.” — John Mulaney

2. That’s the worse word.

“I had a producer tell me I couldn’t use the word midget, because it was ‘worse than the n-word.’ First off…no, it’s not. If you’re comparing the badness of two words and you won’t even say one of them, that’s the worse word.” — John Mulaney

3. Mulaney’s dad is savage.

“We started chanting, McDonald’s, McDonald’s, McDonald’s! And my dad pulled into the drive thru, and we started cheering and then he ordered one black coffee for himself and kept driving.” —​ John Mulaney

4. Say what you think.

“Your opinion doesn​’t matter in elementary school either. It matters in college. College is just your opinion. Just you raising your hand and being like, ‘I think Emily Dickinson’s a lesbian.’ And they’re like, ‘partial credit.’ And that’s a whole thing.” —​ John Mulaney ​

5. Mulaney at a high school party.

“I’m standing in the basement and I’m holding a red cup, you’ve seen movies. And I’m standing there holding a red cup and I’m starting to black out and I guess someone said like something something police. And in a brilliant moment of word association, I yelled ‘F*** da police!’ And everyone else joined in. A hundred drunk white children yelling f*** da police.” —​ John Mulaney

6. Family feud: President edition.

“Donald Trump’s not good at running for president. He’s just good at Family Feud. So, when the Steve Harvey of this election is like, ‘Name something that is bothering Americans!’ And Ted Cruz is like, ‘Benghazi!’ WRONG! Then Trump is like, ‘All the problems.’ And that’s the number one answer on the board.” — John Mulaney

7. Such a throwback.

“I was once on the telephone with blockbuster video, which is a very old-fashioned sentence.” —​ John Mulaney

8. Can’t meet the parents.

“Anyone who’s seen my d*** and met my parents needs to die; I can’t have them roaming around.” — John Mulaney

9. A funny and accurate diss.

“You have the moral backbone of a chocolate éclair.” —​ John Mulaney

10. Keep it close to your chest.

“I’ll keep all my emotions right here and then one day I’ll die.” —​ John Mulaney

11. It’s just dumbfounded luck.

“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.” —​ John Mulaney

12. Crazy can be good.

“I like when things are crazy. Something good comes out of exhaustion.” —​ John Mulaney

13. He can be a name-dropper.

“I’ll book a ticket on some garbage airline. I don’t wanna name an actual airline so let’s make one up, let’s just call it like Delta Airlines.” — John Mulaney

14. Mulaney admits his fears.

“Late at night, on the street, women will see me as a threat. That is funny, yeah! It’s kind of flattering in its own way, but at the same time, it’s weird because, like, I’m still afraid of being kidnapped.” —​ John Mulaney

15. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

“My vibe is like, hey you could probably pour soup in my lap and I’ll apologize to you.” —​ John Mulaney

16. It’s just a fact.

“13-year-olds are the meanest people in the world.” —​ John Mulaney

17. College is a game show.

“College was like a four-year game show called ‘Do My Friends Hate Me or Do I Just Need To Go To Sleep?'” — John Mulaney

18. Songs for people in their 30s.

“I can’t listen to any new songs. Because every new song is about how tonight is the night and we only have tonight. That is such 19-year-old horsesh-t. I want to write songs for people in their 30s called ‘Tonight’s No Good. How About Wednesday? Oh, you’re in Dallas Wednesday? Let’s Not See Each Other for Eight Months and It Doesn’t Matter at All.'” —​ John Mulaney

19. Aging is hard.

“I don’t look older, I just look worse.” —​ John Mulaney

20. We don’t miss that feeling.

“You remember being 12, when you’re like, ‘No one look at me or I’ll kill myself.'” —​ John Mulaney

21. Mulaney was a benchwarmer.

“I played basketball for five years and I was a benchwarmer all five years. If you were never a benchwarmer, I cannot express to you the humiliation of every Saturday morning, putting on a pair of breakaway pants and never having a reason to break them away —​ then they’re just pants.” —​ John Mulaney

22. A good reason to stop drinking.

“I quit drinking because I used to drink too much, then I would black out and I would ruin parties.” —​ John Mulaney

23. Life is stressful.

“I am very small and I have no money. So you can imagine the kind of stress that I am under.” — John Mulaney

24. Mulaney was an English major.

“I paid $120,000 for someone to tell me to go read Jane Austen and then I didn’t.” — John Mulaney

25. Animals don’t talk.

“Why do people shush animals? They just go ‘Shhh, hey, shhh.’ They’ve never spoken.” —​ John Mulaney

26. On the record.

“Now there’s new Nazis. I don’t care for these new Nazis and you may quote me on that.” —​ John Mulaney

27. John Mulaney is like an iPhone.

“I’m like an iPhone, it’s going to be worse versions of this every year, plus I get super hot in the middle of the afternoon for no reason.” —​ John Mulaney

28. Leave it to the imagination.

“I was in Connecticut recently doing white people stuff…” —​ John Mulaney

29. You’re right but boring.

“You’re like the kid at the sleepover who, after midnight, is like, ‘It’s tomorrow now.’ Get out of here with your technicalities. Just because you’re accurate doesn’t mean you’re interesting.” —​ John Mulaney

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