These are inspirational, motivational, wise, and funny John Mulaney quotes, sayings, and proverbs that inspire us. See more quotes by topic on Quotelicious.
- Full name: John Edmund Mulaney
- Born: August 26, 1982
- Born in: Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Occupation: American stand-up comedian, actor, writer and producer
- Height: 6ft 00in (183 cm)
- Weight: 75kg
- Net worth: $6 million
Being president looks like the worst job in the world.
I kind of thought, wouldn’t it be funny to take a swing at being on the weird side of mainstream?
Having done stand-up on television and in stand-up specials for like Comedy Central, you learn quickly that for that type of performance you’re playing to the camera.
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.
My standup persona is like I’ll heighten things, but I’m observing the world as it is in sort of a heightened emotional state.
I like that idea that what I do might be mainstream. Might be.
I definitely look like a toddler. I feel comfortable and I have a lot of fun out there. And if I were to be extremely egotistical, I’d say I got a tiny bit better.
You can’t always see both sides of the story. Eventually, you have to pick a side and stick with it. No more equivocating. You have to commit.
It’s really fun to be writing and producing your own sketches. You almost have more control.
It was funny to be an emcee, because you’re so at the mercy of the club. You can show up for the weekend hoping to get the $400 – and get fired. I had to prank whoever they told me to prank.
As I got into high school and after puberty, I was a little more inward. I was a real extrovert when I was little, but I don’t know, I just got quieter… With my friends, I was still an extrovert.
I just watched a ton of comedy and saw a ton of different styles, and eventually you think, ‘Oh, yeah, I could be like that.’
I like to pace onstage.
I’ll keep all my emotions right here and then one day I’ll die.
My vibe is like, hey you could probably pour soup in my lap and I’ll apologize to you.
I plan to join the ‘SNL’ band as a maraca player and stand behind saxophonist Lenny Pickett. That way they will at least cut to me before commercial breaks. I’ll be sure to look right into camera.
I’ve always believed that you often need less. You don’t need to hear why people are friends, you don’t need to hear why people are roommates, you don’t need to hear why someone would help a friend to do something.
When you have something that you did so many jobs on and were so front and center on, and then people dislike it, you want to learn lessons from it, and you want to move on, and you want to move on too fast.
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.
Understudies don’t normally get invited to openings.
In every case, I find pre-planning noble, but not always that useful in comedy. You know comedy once you’re doing it.
All my money is in a savings account. My dad has explained the stock market to me maybe 75 times. I still don’t understand it.
I remember writing standup jokes without having done sets. But as soon as I did my first set, it didn’t matter. Everything I thought would work didn’t work. And everything I was iffy on was funny.
I’ll book a ticket on some garbage airline. I don’t wanna name an actual airline so lets make one up, lets just call it like Delta Airlines.
I love comedians that dive into politics. I personally don’t feel comfortable, with my background, weighing in unless I have a take that I think is funny enough that I would put it in front of an audience.
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.
It is 100% easier not to do things than to do them, and so much fun not to do them – especially when you were supposed to do them. In terms of instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.
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.
I look back on being 17 and think, ‘Oh my God, how did I not die?’
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.
The difficulty of getting a movie made through a major studio is so extreme that when a movie comes out, everyone should give it four stars because it was accomplished.
I never knew you were supposed to push off of your feet when you walked. And I tried it, and I walked much faster.
You have the moral backbone of a chocolate éclair.
Stand-up for me is just my opinions on things, so it wouldn’t be as fun translated into a sketch. Nor would a sketch be as fun if it were me standing there saying it.
If someone had written a review saying, ”Oh, Hello’ is stupid,’ we would have said, ‘Yeah, it is. You’re absolutely right.’ That people liked it was extremely cool.
I also had Elliot Gould and Martin Short and Nasim Pedrad – let alone Zack Pearlman who is going to be a huge star, as is Seaton Smith – out there and I love writing for them and just sitting back and watching them be excellent. And when you are sitting across from Elliott Gould sharing a scene it just raises your game.
You can do good work simply staying up all night and eating nothing but junk food, but probably not in the long term.
An episode that is near and dear to my heart is the entire cast in one room for the night because we get bed bugs in our apartment building so we have to stay with Martin Short.
I’ve done festivals in the past where I’d be a guest, it was like, Wow, maybe someday I could play Town Hall – but that’ll be a long way off. So it’s very exciting.
The best-case scenario is everything goes perfect and smooth, but we’re also a new and weird show. So all my conversations were, “Hey last night didn’t go perfect but we kind of know what we’ve got in store for everybody episode-wise.
Why do people shush animals? They’ve never spoken.
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.
There are a lot of great jokes you can sit down and write, but that’s just a written joke, versus the comedy of the situation. Ideally, you’re pulling as much comedy out of the situation as you can.
I was just trying to blend the stand up that I do almost with like the visual sketch stuff that I did on “Saturday Night Live.” And so in terms of how elastic in the world is, we’ll see what we can get away with.
If I was at the Comedy Cellar at midnight you yelled at the back of the room. But you, for television, play it to the camera because yes you’re communicating to the people at home using the studio audience that’s right in front of you as a guide for that.
I was new to acting on a stage in a narrative as opposed to acting on a stage as a stand-up. And like everything else it’s just like comfort level. The first time I did stand-up I was at a place called the B3 in New York on Third and Avenue B and I not only didn’t take the mic out of the stand, but I clutched the stand of the entire time.
I like to turn on the TV and watch whatever’s on. Nick Kroll does that a lot. He doesn’t watch important shows. He’ll just turn on a documentary on Mia Hamm and watch it for an hour. Whatever’s on, we watch.
I think for many of us – speaking for just a pocket of the country – we trusted Obama. So when you leave your baby with your mom to watch, you don’t run home and check the nanny cam. But now we’ve left the baby with Gary Busey, so we’re going to be a lot more on it.
Anyone who’s seen my d— and met my parents needs to die; I can’t have them roaming around.
Comfort is everything. You start doing something and you want it to be perfect right away, but most babies are born ugly and then they shake it out and you get beautiful toddlers.
Bill Clinton fascinates me because, at the time, it seemed like his shenanigans and the people after him were the biggest political stories you could ever imagine. I remember when the ‘Starr Report’ was published in the newspaper, all of us were reading it in the high-school cafeteria, and a dean started taking the newspapers away from us.
Nick Kroll, A.D. Miles, Chelsea Peretti – those were the people I was always doing open mics with.
I’m pretty self-critical about everything I’ve ever done: stand-up, ‘SNL.’
I have tons of jokes with moments in them over the years in stand-up that don’t get a laugh but I love them so they stay.
My dad is and was very funny and had a really dry sense of humor, which, as a kid, seemed un-fun. But in retrospect, it’s kind of hilarious.
I have found that people who really want to work at ‘Saturday Night Live’ and pursue it get pretty close. You have to be funny – but everyone who works there, it was their dream to work there. So it’s kind of nice in that way – there’s a lot of people who say, ‘I just always wanted to do this, and now I’m doing it.’
Most open-mic experiences I had were okay.
I really set out to do this traditional looking and traditional sounding multi-cam sitcom, but then make the world as elastic as an animated show could be. Make the world as surreal as we wanted it to be.
I never turn on the crowd. Sometimes, you think it’s a terrible show, and then afterward, sometimes people say they really liked it. So turning on the crowd is only going to alienate the few people who might like it. What do I do in that situation? Get through it.
People having expectations maybe means they’ve enjoyed what I’ve done.
If something is very, very funny but possibly controversial, if it’s truly funny, then it’s worth doing. Things aren’t worth doing for the sake of being controversial.
Going on the road for long stretches can seem daunting, and I certainly miss being home sometimes, but the chance to see so many different cities, let alone perform in them, is something I am really grateful for.
I’ve seen most of the major, important shows, but I watch them all at once, like movies, so my TV relationships are still with shows like ‘Law And Order: SVU,’ ‘Shark Tank,’ and HGTV.
It’s been very funny to try to act like an adult. Even getting dressed. Every day, I’m like, ‘Should I wear a blazer and walk around with an umbrella? Do I carry a briefcase?’ Because I’m trying to be some image of the adults I saw on TV growing up.
I have a lot of stories about being a kid because it was the last time I was interesting.
The Doula was and is a very, very special episode to me because I think it’s very funny and very weird and it also is 100 percent based on my life, in that I fainted three times during Sex Ed in real life the three different years.
I’m a very straightforward person. But that’s fine for a comedian. Because a lot of times you’re talking about everyone else.
I have too many influences to name. I like a wide variety of stuff, which I think has been helpful. I liked every comedian I saw on TV growing up in the ’80s. Every comedian.
If you’re comparing the badness of two words and you won’t even say one of them [the n-word], that’s the worse word.
Things have to be funny first, and if they want to have a point, that’s awesome.
If you are a school student, your opinion does not matter.
I wish I could go tell 12-year-old me like I don’t worry that you just fainted in front of all the girls, one day you’ll be able to make this into an episode of TV.
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.
I like making fun of myself a lot. I like being made fun of, too. I’ve always enjoyed it. There’s just something really, really funny about someone tearing into me.
I still like to turn on the TV and watch whatever’s on.
Sometimes I – with comedy, it’s like someone liking you in high school. They either do, or they don’t. And when they don’t, they don’t. And that’s it. There are no appeals. You show up, and you’re like, ‘Hi! I’m -‘ and you stumble, and they’re like, ‘It’s over.’
I’ll keep all my emotions right here. And then one day I’ll die.
I am very small and I have no money. So you can imagine the kind of stress that I am under.
I was once on the telephone with blockbuster video, which is a very old-fashioned sentence.
I was always the squarest person in the cool room, and alternatively, sometimes the weirder person at the mainstream table.
I stopped drinking when I was 23. I kind of started when I was 13, so it was a 10-year run. But I just became a bad, annoying drunk child, so when I stopped, I’d done a lot of things I wasn’t proud of.
My childhood was completely dominated by Bill Clinton and the OJ trial. I don’t think we had a family dinner where one didn’t come up.
I do longer runs on things, a lot stories. I really like one-liners, I like a lot of different kinds of standup but I’ve always been long-winded.
I had a lot of fun writing things that died during dress rehearsal. Sometimes I remember the crazy ones that died even more fondly than the ones that did really well.
In terms of, like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.
Things don’t exist until they exist.
It’s important to remember that life is a joke, and that outlook grants a lot of perspective, but I don’t think comedy should change and become political due to other things. It should just laugh at that cosmic joke that life is all the time.
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.
It’s nice when you’re nervous and everybody’s like, “Yeah, you should be nervous.” Because a lot of times you’re anxious and people say, “Relax. Shut up.” And that just feels like, Well, I guess I’m also crazy.
I like when things are crazy. Something good comes out of exhaustion.
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.
You all have a relative who is an expert even though they really don’t know what they’re talking about.
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.
Maybe I just have high self-esteem, but I have a lot that I really enjoy.
I don’t make plans anymore. So I’m not living minute to minute.
Occasionally you get that one person that says “I really like that one part of this joke” and you go, “Oh thank you that’s my favorite part too.” But no, in order for it to be authentic hopefully you have jokes that everyone can just get on board with and then you have a few things for yourself.
The more you do stuff, the better you get at dealing with how you still fail at it a lot of the time.
I quit drinking because I used to drink too much, then I would black out and I would ruin parties.
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