John Mulaney gives a dad update at Netflix Is a Joke Fest: ‘It’s scary to have children’

John Mulaney gives a dad update at Netflix Is a Joke Fest: 'It's scary to have children'
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LOS ANGELES − After digging into the depths of his addiction in “Baby J,” John Mulaney followed up his 2023 Netflix stand-up special with a set that didn’t require the comedian to get quite so vulnerable.

On Saturday night, Mulaney, 41, took a break from his six-episode live Netflix show “John Mulaney Presents: Everybody’s In LA” to regale fans with tales from four generations of his family − as well as some meandering bits about the space race and a former tour bus driver he couldn’t quite crack − at the Hollywood Bowl, where some of the biggest names in comedy are performing over two weeks during Netflix Is a Joke Fest (May 2-12).

The anecdotes ranged from 1902, when his paternal grandfather was born, to Mulaney’s life right now as he parents his 2½-year-old son, Malcolm Hiệp Mulaney.

John Mulaney, right, also joined the “Big Mouth” cast for a show at the Greek Theatre on Thursday, where he performed with Adam Lambert, left.

After brief opening acts by The Mandal Man and Nick Kroll, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer recalled how his grandmother – his last grandparent, who died last week at 98 – “loved that I was famous” and his grandfather had “the most Alzheimer’s anyone’s had in American history” and would confuse a 4-year-old Mulaney for a rival businessman from the 1940s.

There wasn’t much reverence to be found for the older people in Mulaney’s life: Revealing that his grandmother voted until she was 96, he called for people to “stop wanting everyone to vote. We need the right kind of voter suppression.”

“You don’t get to order for the table when you’re about to leave the restaurant!” he said.

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His own parents weren’t spared, as he jokingly bemoaned that they might be around another 25 years: “I can’t believe I’m this age and still have parents I have to deal with.”

John Mulaney gives a dad update at Netflix Is a Joke Fest: 'It's scary to have children'
John Mulaney gives a dad update at Netflix Is a Joke Fest: ‘It’s scary to have children’

John Mulaney gives update on his 2-year-old son and ‘best friend’ Malcolm

Mulaney was considerably more generous as he spoke about the young son he shares with girlfriend Olivia Munn.

He revealed what fatherhood looks for him: spending the entire day making conversation with a toddler and playing T-ball in the front yard at 5 a.m.

In the set’s final act, Mulaney makes as if he’s going to open up about Munn’s breast cancer diagnosis, which the actress revealed in March and detailed in People last month.

‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction’:Mulaney on his love for Olivia Munn, being convinced to stay in rehab

“It’s scary to have children, scary to have a family. There’s lots of things that could happen to the average family, like – and I don’t know if any of you have dealt with this – but I’ve certainly seen it portrayed many times, when someone in the family gets” – he briefly paused – “possessed by the devil.”

A different kind of horror, for sure.

The fake-out led into less personal topics, including a story about a former tour bus driver he found surly – until he was told the man was on the autism spectrum.

“What is the point of this story?” the comedian asked. “The point is: Never judge a book by its cover, or even the first dozen or so unpleasant chapters.”

It wasn’t an ending that tied up the 1½-hour show in a neat bow, but it was perhaps appropriate for a set whose topics ranged from the Russians sending a dog to the moon to an expletive-laden, 10-minute bit about demonic possession.

How to watch ‘John Mulaney Presents: Everybody’s In LA’

The first episode of “John Mulaney Presents: Everybody’s In LA” is now streaming on Netflix.

The next five episodes will stream at 10 p.m. ET/7 PT daily, May 6-May 10.

The Challenges of Parenthood: John Mulaney’s Perspective

Parenting is difficult. It becomes difficult from the moment a person learns they will be a parent until the moment they die, including all the errors in between. Mulaney reflects on this concept when he states, “I now understand why everyone has kids.” He responds, saying, it is “to be surrounded by people who had made the same terrible mistakes as you had. It makes you feel better sometimes”.

This finding is the central theme throughout John Mulaney’s performance for Netflix, and it has grown since he has become a parent himself. Throughout his routine, Mulaney repeatedly reinforces the concept of parenthood, and the parents of his audience, coming together to fear failure together and to share the best intentions. He shares with the audience “Nuclear Family”, “The Difference Between Boys and Girls” and “Sitcoms Have Changed”.

In the Netflix stand-up John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, Mulaney tells a story about a woman who steals food during his lunch meeting. The woman attracts the attention of many employees and walks out of the building with the stolen food. The host of the meeting explains to a group of confused employees, “You always have to remember; she had to look us all in the eye as she did these things.

I felt terrible for the rest of the day”. Mulaney then suggests spanking as punishment for people who steal food, which is met with laughter from his audience. He continues, “Do you have any idea the hormones in our food? It ain’t right!” However, Mulaney apologizes and admits that he also did not think it was right to make “judgments on child-rearing”.

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