YOU MIGHT NOT RECOGNIZE JOHN MULANEY, but he’s probably made you laugh already. The 30-year-old comic has spent most of his career in the writers’ rooms of shows like Best Week Ever, Important Things with Demetri Martin and Saturday Night Live—where he famously co-created Bill Hader’s breakout character, club kid Stefon—all while honing his own stand-up act and releasing two critically acclaimed comedy albums along the way.
Now, Mulaney’s poised to break out in front of the camera. He’s developing a semi-autobiographical sitcom for Fox (aptly titled Mulaney), and is rumoured to be a serious candidate to anchor SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment once Seth Meyers relinquishes the desk in February. Perhaps the only thing not funny about Mulaney is his fashion sense. The man knows how to dress, and he’s helping to bring some stylish swagger back to the comedy game.
Comics have a reputation for sloppiness, but a few younger guys like you and Aziz Ansari have started wearing suits onstage.
Comedians always used to wear suits. I thought of a comedian as someone in a suit and tie when I was growing up. So, the idea that every comedian wears an unbuttoned flannel shirt and jeans, that’s the new thing. Some of us are interested in style now, but that was the old-fashioned standard.
Why did you decide to start suiting up for shows?
I’m a pretty plain-looking person, so I like to look nice if I’m doing a show. Wearing a suit is a good way to draw a line between myself and the audience because most of the people who come to my shows kind of look like me—we all kind of look like Lee Harvey Oswald. So, I can’t just wear a t-shirt, otherwise it’d just look like somebody got out of the crowd and stood up.
In this shoot, you rock a bunch of different fall sweaters.
I wear a lot of sweaters, especially on the road, because they hide a lot of stains and a lot of travel. It’s just like putting a burlap sack over yourself. It’s really handy. It’s like the closest thing an ordinary white guy can get to a burka.