I don’t want to cause any controversy but I think it’s safe to say that John Mulaney is good at comedy. In fact, one esteemed pop culture website definitively proclaimed Mulaney as the best comedian of the 2010s, which means he’s been pretty good for at least a whole damned decade. That’s impressive. You don’t get that good—or that popular—without leaving a long trail of evidence on YouTube, and sure enough that site is full of great Mulaney stand-up clips. We’re talking sets from Comedy Central, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, SNL, an HBO telethon, and more, all just waiting there to be watched and then watched again. Here’s a brief overview of the best of those videos, conveniently gathered together in a single central location (as opposed to the single central location that is YouTube). Enjoy.
Comedy Central: “Canceling Plans is Like Heroin”
Mulaney hits on a range of topics In this clip from his 2012 special New in Town, including the joys of doing nothing, the awkwardness of disrobing at the spa, and why the New York Post is his favorite newspaper.
Just For Laughs: “Being Bad at Math”
In this clip from the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Mulaney talks about how every Law & Order episode is the same, and reveals he’s spent way too much time dreaming up a rom-com about the two New Yorkers who received Jerry Orbach’s eyes after the actor and organ donor died.
Late Night with Conan O’Brien, June 7, 2007
In this 2007 appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Mulaney looks at dangerous drink specials, pirates’ depth perception problems, and how he’d pay just to see $100 million in person. He also makes the observation that Donald Trump is “what a hobo imagines a rich man to be,” several years before Trump got involved in politics. This is another one of those Trump bits that has taken on an entirely new dimension in the last decade. Oh, and then Mulaney talks about Law & Order again—he kinda fixated on that show in his early career.
Netflix: “John Mulaney Got Cheated Out of $120K”
In this clip from his 2018 special Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, Mulaney looks at the shamelessness of colleges asking alumni for more money after already paying for four years of tuition.
Night of Too Many Stars, 2017
Mulaney’s struggle with just randomly zoning out all the time is one of the more relatable things about him. Who the hell can pay attention to anything these days? Just put a screen in front of my face and let me fade out. He talks about his own attention problems in this clip from the Night of Too Many Stars telethon that aired on HBO in 2017.
SNL Monologue from Feb. 29, 2020
Instead of his most recent appearance from last fall, we’re going to go with his monologue from last February. It was Leap Day, the pandemic shutdown was still 10 days away, and there’s none of the awkward Biden/Trump bothsidesism that got him in a spot of trouble when he hosted again a few months later. This is the monologue where he makes a joke about how Caesar’s assassination is an idea we maybe needed to revisit, which, according to Mulaney, had to be vetted by not one but two lawyers—and still got him a visit from the Secret Service.
Comedy Central: ”(Some of) The Best of John Mulaney”
And finally, here’s a decently long compilation from Comedy Central, featuring clips from various stand-up programs over the years. You can catch a glimpse of one of Mulaney’s earliest televised stand-up sets in here, from a 2006 episode of Live at Gotham. And then there’s more New in Town and Mulaney’s appearance on The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.