“It just wasn’t right at that moment,” Mulaney said of the opportunity that eventually went to Trevor Noah.
John Mulaney is back at the forefront of stand-up comedy with the release of “Baby J,” his new Netflix special about his recent addiction relapse and subsequent return to sobriety. The special has received critical acclaim for the honesty and vulnerability Mulaney portrays, and many see it as a warning about the dangers of American celebrity culture.
During his press tour to promote the special, Mulaney took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the hype and some of the high-profile opportunities he’s missed over the years. Appears with Doug Herzog and Jen Chaney “Basic” podcast (across The Hollywood Reporter), the comedian said he was considered as a potential host of The Daily Show after Jon Stewart left the job in 2015. He explained that the offer came right after his ill-fated multi-camera sitcom “Mulaney” aired on Fox.
“It was shortly after the 40th anniversary of ‘SNL,'” Mulaney said. “There was a sitcom on Fox. All 13 episodes were aired but canceled. It didn’t bring good numbers, but at least the critics reviled it. So it was a fun time.”
According to the comic, the critical and commercial failure of “Mulaney” made him hesitant to pursue projects other than his stand-up career.
“I felt it was going to be big shoes to fill,” he said. “I think I was also shy about putting myself out there at that point after the Fox run. And I felt that all eyes would be on whoever came after Mr. Stewart.
Mulaney said former Comedy Central president Kent Alterman had to choose other candidates because he had reservations about the job. Trevor Noah was eventually tapped to take over for Stewart and hosted the show for seven years before leaving in 2022.
“It wasn’t right at the time, but I remember saying to Kent, ‘I wish it was five years from now.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but it’s not,'” she said. “I mean, I just remember that Kent had a great voice : “I’m listening. I’m here to hear anything you have to say, but it’s now and we’re asking about it, and we can’t talk so long theoretically at this dinner, John.
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