Original air date: April 14, 2018
Host John Mulaney discusses his time as a Saturday Night Live writer and shares how he’s gotten grumpier as he’s gotten older.
* * *
Ladies and gentlemen — John Mulaney. ♪♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ]
Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. It is great to be here hosting “Saturday Night Live.” [Cheers and applause] That is a very weird thing to say. I was a writer here for five years. Some of the best years of my life. And to be hosting here is just surreal. I mean, I used to write monologues for the hosts, now I’m up here, I get to give the monologue. I get to introduce the musical guest. I mean, that’s incredible.
The best intro, by the way, I ever saw of an “SNL” host with a musical best was sir Patrick Stewart. And he was introducing the musical guest. And this is how he did it. He went, “ladies and gentlemen, Salt-N-Pepa!” Like — like he was surprised by Pepa. Like minutes before they’d been like, we can’t find Pepa anywhere. And he’s like “if we must go on with salt alone, we will go on with salt alone!” They’re like, “three, two, one,” and Pepa burst through the door, and he’s like, “ladies and gentlemen, Salt — and what’s this? Pepa!” [Laughter]
It was the best time. It was an innocent time, you know? What I was younger I thought the world was going to be simple and nice. But now at the end of my life — [laughter] I’m not so sure. I’m getting grumpy which I don’t like. Like I don’t like any new songs. I don’t like any new songs. Because every new song is about how tonight is the night. And how we only have tonight. That’s the message in 90% of songs. That’s such 19-year-old garbage. I want to write songs for people in their 30s called “tonight’s no good, how about Wednesday? Oh, you’re in Houston on Wednesday, okay, then let’s not see each other for six months, and it doesn’t matter at all.”
I try to stay polite. I’m overly polite, apparently, my wife says. When my wife and I walk down the street, we have totally different styles. When she walks down the street, she does not care what anyone thinks about her in any situation. She’s my hero. When I walk down the street, I need everyone to like me so much. It’s exhausting. My wife said that walking around with me was like walking around with someone who’s running for mayor of nothing. [Laughter]
People ask us if we’re going to have children. We don’t have any. So we say, no. They go, never? You’re never going to have kids? I’m like, I don’t know never. Look. 14 Years ago I smoked cocaine the night before my college graduation. Now I’m afraid to get a flu shot. People change. [Laughter] [cheers and applause]
Strange the passage of time. I like old-fashioned things, you know? I was in Connecticut recently doing white people stuff. [Laughter] Really, okay. One day in Connecticut — it doesn’t matter why, but I was sitting in a gazebo. [Laughter] And there was a plaque on the gazebo. And it said this gazebo was built by the town in 1863. That’s in the middle of the Civil War. And they built a gazebo. [Laughter] How did that town meeting work? They were like, all right, first order of business, we have all the telegrams from Gettysburg with the war dead. Let’s see here, everyone’s husband and brother and everyone died, okay. Josiah, you had something? Yes, I do. How’d you like to be indoors and out of doors all at once? Ever walking through the park with your betrothed and it starts to rain but you still want to hold hands? Well may I introduce you to, and my condolences again to everyone, the gazebo! [Applause] Building a gazebo during the Civil War. Would be like doing standup comedy now. [Laughter]
They used to do weird, slow, leisurely activities in the old days. Because they didn’t have enough to do so they had to fill the day. You woke up back then, oh, god, it’s the old days. I’ve got to wear all those layers. We’ve got to think of weird, slow activities to fill the time. And they did. Have you ever seen like old film from the past? Of people just like waving at a ship? [Laughter] What if I called you now to do that? Hey, what are you doing Monday there’s a Norwegian cruise line leaving for Martinique. Around 10:00 a.m. Here’s my plan. You and I get very dressed up, including hats. And we wave handkerchiefs at the ship till it disappears over the horizon. No, I don’t know anyone on the ship. [Laughter]
Everything is fast now and it’s totally unreasonable. The world is run by computers. The world is run by robots. And sometimes they ask us if we’re a robot. Just because we’re trying to logon and look at our own stuff. [Laughter] Multiple times a day. May I see my stuff, please? Huh. I smell a robot. Prove, prove! Prove you’re not a robot. Look at these curvy letters! [Laughter] Much curvier than most letters, wouldn’t you say? No robot could ever read these! [Laughter] You look mortal if need be. You look and you type what you think you see. Is it an “e”? Or is it a “3”? That’s a “p.” The passwords have passed, you’ve correctly guessed. But now it’s time for the robot test! [Laughter] I devised a question no robot could ever answer. Which of these pictures does not have a stop sign in it? [Laughter] [applause] What? [Cheers and applause] You spend a lot of your day telling a robot that you’re not a robot. Think about that for two minutes and tell me you don’t want to walk into the ocean. [Laughter]
Ladies and gentlemen. We have a great show for you, Jack White is here. Stick around, we’ll be right back. [Cheers and applause] ♪♪♪