‘I Don’t Remember How to Do Comedy’ After Rehab Special newsusface

On the latest episode of comedian Theo Von’s podcast, hugely popular and beloved comic John Mulaney, who very publicly relapsed on drugs during the pandemic, addressed his re-entry into the stand-up world with John Mulaney: Baby J, his third special for Netflix, which will hit the platform on April 25th.

“This special I’ve got coming out is about everything from intervention through rehab and after,” Mulaney told Von. “So at the moment, or in the past two years, I haven’t wondered what I’m gonna talk about on stage. But now having shot this thing and, you know, and I’m really, really happy with it and it’s longer than my other specials and I’m thrilled that it’s longer. This was the time to do this chunk of material.”

“With that gone, now I start to wonder,” Mulaney said. “Yeah. Now I don’t remember how to do comedy.”

During their conversation, Mulaney was also generously honest with Von about some of the more harrowing episodes in his extensive relationship with drugs, which the comedian said included heavy cocaine use, as well as “Xanax, Klonopin, Adderall, Percocet, Ritalin, any kind of speed” (these are topics Mulaney’s discussed before, and will continue to in his Netflix special).

“It was exhausting,” Mulaney told Von, referring to addiction. “But it kept you in the moment, I’ll say that. I had reflexes like an alley cat. It was like, people meditate to be in the moment. You know, like, when people do mindfulness meditation, it’s to be fully present. And when I was trying to get drugs, I was like, OK, bird, siren off in the distance, bicycle. Put you right there. There was some immediacy, goddammit.”

“I remember I went into a meeting holding a bottle of Pedialyte,” Mulaney said earlier in the podcast, “because I was not eating anything. I was just drinking Pedialyte, doing cocaine. And I was with people I knew and we were waiting for other people to join the meeting that we didn’t know. And I said, if my nose bleeds or if I pass out, it’s because I have a sinus infection. Don’t worry. You know? And I’ll give a signal if I think I’m about to pass out. And even to them, I was like, because I’m sick, that’s why.”

Mulaney explained that he had tried to talk about using drugs on stage before, but acknowledged it didn’t fit his on-stage persona. “Of course, the guy who seems like he has it all together has the problem,” he said. “Because that’s just, like, how life works.” He added that he thought he was “able to achieve at life with the drugs, as opposed to in spite of them” and it took him a “long time” to realize it was the other way around.

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