GQ Writer Thought Drugged-out John Mulaney ‘Seemed Fine’

John Mulaney closes his terrific new stand-up show Baby J (now available on Netflix) with possibly his biggest self-own. This comes after a funny (and terrifying) account of how his life-threatening cocaine addiction forced him to check into a recovery facility in December 2020. In true Mulaney flair, he weaves this tale with humor to lessen the impact of the unrelenting gloom.

The most damning piece of evidence of his all-time low, however, is revealed at the very end. It follows tales of buying $12,000 watches at a loss and immediately pawning them to support his habit, putting up with mild sexual harassment to obtain fake prescriptions, and his preteen attempts to smuggle drugs and alcohol on the streets of Chicago.

Mulaney reads from a GQ interview he gave on December 15, 2020; on December 18, 2020, he entered treatment. He claims that this was him at his most stoned, and the transcript supports this. Since Mulaney first began sharing this tale on his From Scratch tour in 2021, where he started workshopping the special, Frazier Tharpe, a writer for GQ, has received a great deal of attention.

GQ Writer Thought Drugged-out John Mulaney ‘Seemed Fine’

Tharpe has provided his perspective on the situation in a fresh article for that outlet now that Baby J is available. In a post titled “I’m the Guy Who Did John Mulaney’s Infamous GQ Interview,” Tharpe writes, “Our conversation was as loose, wide-ranging, and whimsical as I hoped it would be—but for the wrong reasons, as I’d soon learn.”

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“I believed Mulaney was poking fun at the premise that he was conducting an interview about the voice of an animated superhero pig for the majority of the interview (conducted over the phone, not Zoom). (Mulaney was on an obviously ill-advised press tour for his appearance as Spider-Ham in a Marvel mobile game that was quickly forgotten.)

Mulaney’s impromptu responses, such as made-up tales about spooky vacuum cleaner shops in Union Square and a pitch for a talk show that would essentially be a talk show, were only a joke in Tharpe’s eyes. He claims that Mulaney occasionally came over as introspective, such as when he considered his role as an apolitical comic in a politically charged time.

After the news of Mulaney’s admission to treatment leaked in mid-December, GQ decided to publish the interview earlier than anticipated. The story was colored by a comment regarding the time that was included at the top. Tharpe, though, got to watch his interview reframed live when he eventually saw From Scratch, months after Mulaney was back on the stand-up circuit after being released from rehab.

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Mulaney was even made aware of Tharpe’s presence by a call from him during the joke. As he continued to make set adjustments in real-time, Tharpe recalled, “He asked to interview me about how he appeared during our 2020 conversation—and if I could tell anything was off.” I could only yell back that I felt John Mulaney seemed great because I don’t know him personally as the audience erupted in laughter. He finished the interview, gave me one last salute, and then left.

 

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