John Mulaney: My ‘star-studded’ intervention ‘saved my life’

Video people at john mulaney intervention

John Mulaney channeled his rock bottom into a new comedy special.

The 40-year-old comedian detailed his addiction struggles, time in rehab and the “star-studded” intervention that brought him there in his new Netflix special, “John Mulaney: Baby J.”

“I’ve had a weird couple years; you’ve had a weird couple years,” Mulaney said, referring to his public personal life — including his stint in rehab, his divorce and the birth of his son with Olivia Munn — as well as the pandemic.

He burst into song about the weird years, singing, “We all went to rehab, and we all got divorced, and now our reputation is different. No one knows what to think. All the kids like Bo Burnham more because he’s currently less problematic. Likability is a jail.”

Mulaney then admitted that he was addicted to a cocktail of drugs including Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin and Percocet and was heavily using cocaine.

In December 2020, a group of 12 of Mulaney’s friends staged an intervention in person in New York and over Zoom under the guise of “dinner with a friend from college.”

The “Saturday Night Live” alum admitted in the special, filmed in February at Boston Symphony Hall, that he immediately knew when he opened the door that his friends were going to try to get him to go to rehab.

“Do you know how bad of a drug problem you have to have if, when you open a door and see people gathered, your first and immediate thought is, ‘This is probably an intervention about my drug problem?’” he quipped.

Mulaney shifted the focus of his intervention to who was in attendance, including Seth Meyers, Nick Kroll, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Natasha Lyonne.

“Let me just call this out now, I don’t mean to be weird. It was a star-studded intervention. It was, like, a good group,” Mulaney said. “It was a good group. As mad as I was when I walked in there, I was like, this is a good lineup, this is really flattering in its own way.”

“It was like a ‘We Are the World’ of alternative comedians over the age of 40. All comedians. Yet no one said a funny thing the entire night.”

He shared that his comedian friends all promised before they got there that they wouldn’t do any bits or crack any jokes — which drove Mulaney crazy.

“I was going psychotic. I am sitting there in an awful chair, crashing from cocaine. No one will let me go to the bathroom to freshen up, and the funniest people in the world are staring at me, refusing to do jokes. It was maddening!”

John Mulaney
John Mulaney admitted that he was addicted to a cocktail of drugs including Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin, Percocet and was heavily using cocaine.
Kyle Dubiel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

He continued to talk about how unnerving it was to see his friends who are always in character be so serious.

“Fred Armisen was serious. Do you know how off-putting that is? He was just like, ‘Hey, John, I’m really worried about everything you’re going through.’ And I was like, ‘Ah, next! Next!’”

Mulaney said at the time, he was so mad at his friends for pulling a “prank” of an intervention on him — but looking back he’s grateful his friends went through with it.

“I was so mad that night. They had tricked me. I mean, at its core, an intervention is a prank. They had pranked me. They were trying to tell me what to do with my life, they were trying to control me. They were sending me away to rehab for months. I felt powerless. I felt very angry,” he shared.

He added, “Getting to do this show, and standing here, listen, I am grateful to everyone at my intervention. They intervened. They confronted me and they totally saved my life.”

john mulaney
John Mulaney welcomed son, Malcolm, with Olivia Munn.

Mulaney went to rehab straight from the intervention — with Adderall, Xanax, cocaine and $2,000 in cash on him.

“I had other plans that weekend!” he jokingly exclaimed.

But Mulaney’s biggest fear when arriving at rehab was that people would recognize him as a celebrity — but he was quickly humbled.

“When I first got to rehab, one of my biggest fears was that everyone was going to recognize me,” Mulaney said. “Gradually, a new fear took over. I’m not like exaggerating to be funny. F – – king no one… no one knew who I was, and it was driving me bananas.”

“Please don’t repeat this,” he said while filming in front of a sold-out crowd. “It was in the newspaper that I was in rehab, and I left it out.”

Mulaney spent two months in rehab, leaving the facility in February 2021.

Following rehab, his romantic life saw a lot of changes as well. His divorce from his wife Anna Marie Tendler was finalized in January 2022. He also welcomed his first child, Malcolm, with Munn.

“John Mulaney: Baby J” is now streaming on Netflix.

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