John Mulaney Talks 'SNL,' Stefon, and How He'd Spin Off 'Law & Order'

Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:24pm EST

John Mulaney is a man of many talents: He worked on the sadly defunct "Best Week Ever," co-created Stefon on "Saturday Night Live," and is one of the world's biggest "Law & Order" fans.

In his new Comedy Central special, "John Mulaney: New in Town," he addresses such bold new topics as, well, "Law and Order."

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"I don't set out to write about it, and yet it happened again," he said. "I thought to myself, 'Really? You're going to go back to this? Do you have any opinions on anything else?' And the answer is no."

Mulaney talked to TheWrap about creating his special while juggling his duties as an "SNL" writer, producer, and occasional performer. He also talked about the big-screen potential for Stefon, the club-obsessed character he created with Bill Hader.

What's your favorite part of the new special?

My favorite parts are the parts that make fun of me. You know, I just have a lot of jokes about what a stupid idiot I am. I talked a little bit about how my girlfriend has really stood up for me a lot and how when I'm not with her, people can treat me any way they want. I find that very funny because it's extremely true. I was very happy that it worked as a joke.

Watch a clip from the special:

Jokes.com   John Mulaney - Bullied at School comedians.comedycentral.com John Mulaney Comedians Stand-Up

 

How tough is it to write a standup special, while working on "Saturday Night Live"?

Oh, well, it can be tricky. We have long hours at "SNL." But what's nice is we work really hard on the weeks we have a show, and then we get a couple weeks off. During those weeks off you're free to do whatever you want. So I was able to really work on jokes I was writing and tour and work out the material. So it balanced itself nicely.

When potential material pops into your head, do you automatically think, "Is this better as standup material? Is this better as something to develop for 'SNL' or another project?"

I could see how they might overlap. But they've always just been separate in my mind. I think it's because the standup side of it comes from my own opinion on something and sketches are often more based around a different type of character or a different type of premise. So there's certainly some overlap, but for the most part I've kept them separate in my mind.

Also read: 'SNL': Watch Zoolander and Stefon on 'Weekend Update'

You and Bill Hader work together on Stefon. He has talked about the coffee shop employee who partly inspired Stefon, but wasn't a friend of yours also part of the inspiration behind the character?

I had a friend of a friend who was always talking about starting a club night. He had the Stefon cadence and that rhythm of like, "This place is going to have everything. It's going to have goats. It's going to have a jacked old guy at the door ..." He would list things in that same way. So we put those two together.

Could Stefon star in his own movie? Could he support a whole movie?

I don't know. It would have to take place at night, because he's not awake during the day. He's either not awake during the day or he never goes to bed.

We've also seen you pop up on "Weekend Update" a couple of times … Is that something that you want to do more of, you will do more of?

If they needed it, I would totally do it. It was a lot of fun to do things at the "Update" desk. Really, yeah, it was so exciting. … As much as I've written or worked on the show, to actually be out at the desk doing something on air is really fun.

When I realize that the thing we're working on is this show, "Saturday Night Live," I go, "Oh, wow. That's very bizarre. I shouldn't be allowed to do that. That big famous show, I absolutely shouldn't be allowed."

What do you do as a producer on the show?

What are you implying?

How do your duties as a producer differ from being a writer on the show? The writers are also usually involved with producing their sketches, aren't they?

Yes. Well, myself and Erik Kenward and the other producers on the show … we still write a lot of sketches. We just try to (help) put on the show overall. So, you know, try and keep an eye on what other, lend help to what other people are writing. Yeah, you just kind of look at the show as a whole as opposed to your own piece.

Going forward, what's your dream project? Would you want to star in your own sitcom?

I guess I deserve some sort of walk‑on on "Law & Order" at this point. Like, it's kind of glaring, because, I don't know if you know this, but everyone else in New York has already been on the show. Every actor in New York for the past 23 years has been (in an episode of one of the) "Law & Order" (series) except me. I actually had to think for a second to ask myself if I had been on, and I haven't.

Also read: 'Law & Order': A 104-Disc DVD Set & 10 Top 'Ripped From the Headlines' Eps

Did you ever audition for one?

No. No. Never have … But I think doing a walk‑on, impressing the producers there, and maybe getting some sort of spin‑off, like a "Law & Order: Petty Crimes Unit" or something, or like "Law & Order: Animal Safety." Because I have a very weak stomach. I wouldn't be able to actually deal with crimes. And I'm very lazy, so I wouldn't be able to find criminals.

What kind of stuff do you watch on TV, besides the various "Law & Order" franchises, of course?

Well, I was watching "American Horror Story." And I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery. "Deadly Women," "Who the Bleep Did I Marry?" Things like that.

I also like to watch "Charlie Rose." That's very boring … See, you didn't even respond to that.

"John Mulaney: New in Town" airs Saturday at 10/9c on Comedy Central.

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