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Six things we learned from John Mulaney’s new Netflix comedy special ‘Baby J’

Mulaney’s stand-up act, recorded in Boston, revolves around the gritty details of his life before and during rehab

John Mulaney at Boston Symphony Hall during filming of his Netflix special "Baby J."MARCUS RUSSEL PRICE/NETFLIX

Comedian John Mulaney, 40, recorded his latest Netflix special, “Baby J,” at Symphony Hall on Feb. 26. The set is now streaming, mostly focused on jokes around his drug abuse and time in rehabilitation.

Since 2020, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer entered recovery for his drug addiction, filed for divorce from Anna Marie Tendler, and welcomed a son named Malcolm with actress Olivia Munn.

Mulaney is also known for his previous Netflix specials “The Comeback Kid” (2015) and “Kid Gorgeous” (2018) as well as “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch” (2019).


Here are six things he reveals in “Baby J.”

His friends staged an intervention on Dec. 18, 2020.

“I was invited over to my friend’s apartment for dinner. Exciting, right?” he asks the audience. “No.”

Mulaney explains his internal monologue leading up to the reveal. He thought he was just “going to dinner with a friend from college,” but then looks around the room, “What’s Seth Meyers doing here? [Expletive].”

The turnout, though, was pretty impressive. “It was a star-studded intervention,” he said.

Pete Davidson checked on him in rehab.

Fellow comedian Davidson called Mulaney when he had finally fallen asleep at the rehab center after 50 hours of being awake.

“Fun fact about Pete: He changes his cellphone number constantly,” said Mulaney. “I don’t know why. That’s his journey.”

So Mulaney began storing each of Davidson’s numbers in his phone as a different famous person’s name. That week’s name: Al Pacino.

Seeing five missed calls on his phone from “Al Pacino,” a nurse stationed near Mulaney frantically woke him up.

“Baby J” could have prevented the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Mulaney was in rehab during the Jan. 6 US Capitol insurrection and insists the attack was only possible because he was indisposed.


“Was there ever an insurrection before I went to rehab? No.”

“Has there been one since I got out? Absolutely not,” he says. “They wouldn’t dare. They know Baby J is back on the streets.”

No one in the rehab center knew who he was.

At first, Mulaney was worried about being recognized at the rehab center. But he didn’t love it when not a soul knew who he was. In a grab for attention, he left out a copy of the newspaper with a story about his going to rehab and pretended to stage the discovery of the article. “Get in here you addicts. Oh my God. I wonder what’s inside,” he said, flipping to the page.

He called his accountant to block access to his own money.

Instead of seeking help from “a drug counselor or any type of counselor or a therapist or a doctor or literally anyone in my life,” Mulaney called his accountant and told him not to release cash unless Mulaney e-mailed him and CC’ed his doctor.

“I [spent] the next six months finding elaborate ways to steal my own money from myself.”

Using the one credit card that still worked, he bought a Rolex “as a gift for my brother,” Googled “where to sell watch right now in New York City” as he left the store, and unloaded the $12,000 timepiece for $6,000 at a nearby pawn shop.

He doesn’t remember any of the 2020 interview he gave to GQ magazine.


The interview took place on Dec. 15, 2020 — a few weeks before the intervention.

GQ asked, “How has your creative process been impacted by this year?” to which Mulaney replied, “If you heard that spoon drop, it’s ‘cause I’m eating a bowl of fruit loops.”

When questioned about ideas for talk shows, one of the concepts he discussed was showcasing “only elderly people.”

“I just thought it would be great to talk to old people,” he told the magazine, “especially if they were comfortable talking about being at the end of their lives.”

The reporter ended the conversation by telling him, “I’m going to let you go. I don’t want to take too much of your time away from the fruit loops.”

Mulaney replied, “What are you talking about? They’re long gone.”


Now streaming on Netflix.

Maddie Browning can be reached at