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John Mulaney: Baby J (2023) | Transcript

A chaotic intervention. An action packed stay in rehab. After a weird couple of years, John Mulaney comes out swinging in his return to the stage.
John Mulaney: Baby J (2023)

[John Mulaney] The past couple years, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. And I’ve realized that I’ll be fine as long as I get constant attention.

[laughter]

I do. I love attention. I always wanted attention.

[laughter]

When I was a little kid, I didn’t get enough attention. I was the third of four kids. I have an older brother and an older sister. When I was three years old, they pulled me aside and they told me that I was adopted. [laughter] And that my real mother had been murdered… [laughter] …by Miss America. They said, “If you ask our mom about it, she’ll get really upset. So don’t ask her if it’s true unless you want to upset her.” And they said, “If you ask our dad about it, he’ll say that we’re lying.” “But he’s lying.”

[laughter]

They thought of every angle. [laughter] And to compound the stress that I was under, when I was three years old, I thought that Miss America was the Statue of Liberty.

[laughter]

And that summer was 1986. In ’86 that summer on the Fourth of July, Reagan was president then, and he gave a speech in front of the Statue of Liberty. He was wearing a white shirt, the wind was blowing, and he goes… [as Ronald Regan] “This lady is a great lady.” And I was sitting at home like, “Oh, my God.” “This goes all the way to the top.”

[laughter]

“I’m never gonna get justice for my mother.” I always wanted attention in school, like to a sick degree. I really… I mean, I don’t know if you guys ever had this feeling, but do you remember when you were in elementary school, grammar school, and a kid in your class would come to school one day and you’d find out their grandparent had died. And they would get, like, so much attention.

[laughter]

You know, the teacher would be like, “Aaron’s grandpa passed away,” and he’d be like… [as a child] “That’s right.”

[laughter]

And we’d be like, “Aw, Aaron.”

And he’d be, like, VIP for the day.

[laughter]

He’d be like, “Can I sit in the beanbag chair during reading time?” We’re like, “Of course, you poor fuck. You sit there.” [laughter] Forget the fact that there’s a laminated construction paper list of whose day it is to sit in the beanbag chair, and we’ve all been patient waiting for our day. And let’s even forget that the beanbag is there to teach us patience. You just jumped the line.

[laughter]

Did you ever look at how much attention that dead-grandparent kid was getting? And did you ever, like me…

[laughter]

…hope?

[laughter]

Or maybe even…

[laughter builds]

…pray.

[laughter and applause]

[scattered laughter]

“Please kill one of my grandparents so I can get attention too.” I did. I did do that. And some of you did, too. And I know you did because you started laughing from the very beginning of the joke. [laughter] If you did, don’t feel too bad, okay? Yes, it’s a super dark memory. But you were a little kid. Also, you were a little kid, so you probably still had, like, four grandparents.

[laughter]

This is a lot of grandparents. Is this too many? I’m… I am… I don’t know, I’m asking. Look, God damn it! I’m not saying you pray to kill one of the important ones. [laughter] You don’t want to kill your mom’s mom, too special of a relationship. And you don’t want to kill your dad’s dad because then your dad gets all weird.

[laughter]

Kids, you think your dad’s weird now? Wait for his dad to die. Then he goes on a whole quest. He’ll wanna take more family pictures, but be angrier during them.

[laughter]

“Can we get one photo where we all look nice?” We’re like, “I don’t think this motherfucker’s doing that well.”

[laughter and applause]

[scattered cheering]

So you don’t want to kill one of the important ones. [laughter] But you could kill… one of the unimportant ones. [laughter] You know who. [laughter] You… [laughter] You could kill your dad’s mom. [laughter] Who even knew your dad had a mom? [laughter] It doesn’t seem like she did a very good job.

[audience laughing hysterically]

Ask your mom if she thinks that your dad’s mom did a good job and deserves to live. [laughter and applause] Of course not. She is an unpleasant older lady. She’s never done nothing for no one. But she could now. [laughter] She could die, between September and May. Real talk, Boston. When I was in elementary school, my grandma died over the summer!

[laughter]

It was useless. You can’t be walking into school on Labor Day, talking about “We lost our Grandma July 17th.” “You should be over it by now. Get out of the beanbag chair!” [laughter] Well, I apologize for beginning the show on such a… dark note. But I didn’t want to start way too upbeat, you know. I’ve had a weird couple years. You’ve had a weird couple years. I didn’t wanna come out all phony, you know. You’re like… [mimics trumpet] “Hey, Boston! It’s time to laugh!”

♪ Raise up your smiles ♪
♪ Lower those masks ♪
♪ You know what I mean ♪
♪ We all quarantined ♪
♪ We all went to rehab And we all got divorced ♪
♪ And now our reputation is different ♪

[audience laughing hysterically]

[cheering and applauding]

♪ No one knows what to think ♪
♪ Hey, yeah! ♪
♪ All the kids like Bo Burnham more ♪
♪ Because he’s currently Less problematic ♪
♪ Likability is a jail, ah ♪

So we can’t start that way.

[cheering and applauding]

All right, thanks. I wrote that song. Before I begin… Uh, young man in the third row up there. Uh, what’s your name?

[boy] Henry.

Henry? Okay, Henry.

How old are we?

[Henry] Uh, 11.

Eleven. Okay, ha-ha, wonderful.

[laughter] You won’t at all… [laughs] be distracting me throughout the entire performance. Henry… Oh, man. Henry, do you… I don’t mean this in a like, “Do you know who I am?” kind of way, but like, do you know, like who I am, or did, like a babysitter cancel, and suddenly you were like, in a van? [laughter] You know who I am? Okay. Have you seen me do stand-up before? Okay. All right. Well, I appreciate you coming. So, um…

So…

[laughter]

…the things that I talk about… [laughter] …tonight, that I did recently… [laughter] …I never say this, Henry. It’s not… I don’t say this explicitly, but don’t. [laughter] All right?

[laughing and cheering]

Don’t. You’re in the sixth grade? Fifth? [laughs] [laughter] All right. Well, Henry, if you’ve seen me do stand-up before, I have kind of a different vibe now. [laughter] When I was a younger man, I’d come out on stage and be like, “Hey!” [babbling rapidly] And I wonder what caused that. [laughter] Well, those days are over. [laughter] That’s it. That’s over.

[cheering and applauding]

Okay.

[laughter]

Here’s what happened. [quirky music playing] [man scatting] December 18th, 2020. Henry, you were about to go on Christmas break… [laughter] …from the third grade.

[laughter]

[Mulaney chuckles]

[man whoops]

I, meanwhile, was loose in New York City, not doing well. Feral. That night, December 18th 2020, I was invited over to my friend’s apartment for dinner. Exciting, right? No. [laughter] When I got there, it was a trick. There was no dinner. It was an intervention. For me. [laughter] Interventions for me, are my least favorite kind of intervention. [laughter] When I walked into my intervention, I knew immediately that it was an intervention. Do you know how bad of a drug problem you have to have, if when you open a door, and see people gathered, your first and immediate thought is, “It’s probably an intervention about my drug problem”? [laughter] “There’s no other reason people would be behind a door.” [laughter] This was my thought process, walking into my intervention that night. “Going to dinner with a friend from college!” “Going to dinner with a friend from college!” “Going to dinner with a friend from college!” “What’s Seth Meyers doing here?” “Fuck!” [laughter] Also, I was two hours late for my intervention. [laughter] Well, I didn’t know people were waiting on me. I wish I had. I would have been a million hours late. [laughter] I was two hours late, so when I got there, everyone was mad-der at me. [laughter] They were like, “And you’re late.” I was like, “Hey, if you wanted me here on time, you could have texted me, ‘John, we have cocaine.'” [laughter] I would have been a half hour early to help set up chairs. I was two hours late, ’cause I was running two very important errands. First errand, I went to my drug dealer’s apartment. I’m ashamed to tell you all I was there to buy drugs. And I had to pay my dealer in cash, and I had to give him a bunch of cash for some drugs I bought a couple nights before because my Venmo was maxed out. Did you know? Did you know you can do that? You can max your Venmo out, on a weekly basis. By the way, while I have you all here, allow me to say something about Venmo on behalf of the drug addict community. [laughter] Venmo is for drug deals. That’s what it was for. None of us in the drug world have any clue what all of you civilians… [laughter] …are doing on our app… [laughter] …with your public fucking transactions.

[laughter and applause]

What are you, in ye olde marketplace, 1555? “Hear ye! Hear ye!” “Look at me!” “I trade one fatted goose for ten radishes.” “Keep it to yourself.” The second errand I ran that night is very amusing to me. Dinner was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. So I went to get a haircut… [laughter] …at 7:00 p.m. [laughter] And I truly believed I could make both work. [laughter] I went to get this nighttime haircut at Saturday Night Live, which is a TV show, not an all-night pop-in barbershop. But they have a hair department there, right? And I still had my badge from when I worked there. So, at 7:00 p.m., coked out of my mind, I went up to the eighth floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, walked into the Emmy-Award-winning hair department, and I said, Hey, can I have a haircut? [laughter] And they said, “Oh, John, you’re not hosting this week.” And I said, “Ah, hey, can I have a haircut?” [laughter] You know that thing of when a junkie walks into your office and asks for a haircut and you’re like, “Hurr, it’d be faster to cut the hair”? That’s what happened. I walk into my intervention two hours late. According to my friends, this is what I said. [in annoyed tone] “Okay!” [laughter] I’d just been to my drug dealer’s apartment, so I immediately yelled out, “Before we start, can I go to the bathroom?” [laughter] And they said no. And I said… [screams] Then this intervention lady that they’d hired runs up to me, and she goes, “Hi.” And I said, “Wrong energy!” [laughter] I walk into this intervention. Now, listen, everyone there at the intervention is really worried about me. They’re all concerned about my physical well-being. But I stroll in there, I am cocaine-skinny, with a new haircut. [laughter] They’ve all been in heavy quarantine for nine months. They looked like shit. [laughter] I was the best looking person at my intervention, by a mile.

[laughing and cheering]

Everyone there looked like Jerry Garcia. I walk in the room, there’s six of my friends sitting there in-person in New York. And six of my friends over Zoom, from LA. You may be thinking, “Hey, if that was me, I would have been like, ‘If you’re so worried about me, how come you didn’t fly in?'” Don’t worry. I said that several times.

[laughter]

I said that multiple times throughout the night. The intervention lady goes, “Here, let me show you your chair.” I had a special chair. ‘Cause I was belle of the ball. And I’m about to sit down in my chair, when a friend of mine in the corner goes, “I thought they were gonna tackle him.”

[laughter]

“You thought they were gonna what?” “You know, like on Intervention.” “I thought they were gonna tackle you.” “That’s To Catch a Predator.” [laughter] “Are you disappointed now that they’re not gonna tackle me?” He went, “Yeah, I’m a little disappointed.” I sit down in my chair, I face all these rats. [laughter] Look. Let me just call this out now, I don’t mean to be weird. It was a star-studded intervention. [laughs] It was like a good group. It was a good group. As mad as I was when I walked in there, I was like, “This is a good lineup. This is very…” “This is really flattering in its own way.” It was like a “We Are the World” of alternative comedians over the age of 40. All comedians. Yet no one said a funny thing the entire night. Before I got there, they promised each other that they wouldn’t do bits. [laughter] I was going psychotic. I am sitting there in an awful chair, crashing from cocaine. No one will let me go to the bathroom to freshen up. [laughter] And the funniest people in the world are staring at me, refusing to do jokes! It was maddening! Fred Armisen was serious. [laughter] Do you know how off-putting that is? [laughter] He didn’t do a character or a voice. He was just like, [as Fred Armisen] “Hey, John, I’m really worried about everything that you’re going through.” And I was like “Ah! Next! Next!” [laughter] By the way, for most of this intervention, I was determined not to go to rehab. a.k.a., “Lose.” [laughter] My plan was to destabilize the leader lady.

[laughter and applause]

If I could get the others to question her authority… [hysterical laughter] …I thought the whole thing would fall apart like a house of cards. I was hoping, eventually, they’d be like, “I don’t know, the haircut, the confidence, maybe we should make him the leader and send this lady to rehab.” At one point I was standing at an open window, chain smoking, in December in New York City. You know, the way a sober person would. And I looked at her and I said, “Were you even prepped for me?”

[blows air]

[laughter]

And she said, “Yes.” “But everyone said you were very nice.” [laughter] Don’t believe the persona. At one point, I threw this grenade at the gang. I go, “I’ll go to rehab when all of you stop drinking and smoking weed.” [laughter] A hush fell over the intervention. And then Nick Kroll yelled, “Johnny, that’s not what this is about.” [laughter] It’s frustrating when people intervene on you, but they have problems of their own. It’s like when someone sends you a text but the text comes from their email address. [laughter] And you’re like, “Okay, I understand the message, but you need to get your shit together. This…” “I hate this. Your name at iCloud.” “Why are you texting me? Don’t ever text me this way. It’s foolish.” Now we have two threads going. The original thread with your name saved the way I like it, and this new all lower case abomination. So many letters, it doesn’t even fit in text preview. Then they keep texting you to see if it’s still coming from their email, “Hey, are my texts still coming from my email address?” “Huh. Weird.” “Are my texts still coming from my email?” “Huh. Weird.” They FaceTime you from their email address! [laughter] Are you calling on a child’s iPad? [laughter] I was truly an asshole that night. I recognize that. But listen, I was furious at them. I was so mad that night. They had tricked me. I mean, at its core, an intervention is a prank. [laughter] They had pranked me, they were trying to tell me what to do with my life, they were trying to control me, they were sending me away to rehab for months. I felt powerless. I felt very angry. Now, standing here tonight, February 26th, 2023. One of the worst times of the year. [laughter] Here with all you wonderful people, and one of our top fifth graders. [laughter] Getting to do this show and standing here… Listen, I am grateful to everyone at my intervention. They intervened, they confronted me, and they totally saved my life.

[all cheering]

Okay. That’s enough. That’s enough. Don’t… Don’t stand for them. Listen… [laughter] They’ve been thanked. [laughter] And like, they’re well aware they did a good thing. [laughter] They bring it up a lot. [laughter] Also, like, I’m still pissed off at them. I’m grateful. I’m truly grateful. And I wish I just felt that one emotion, but I don’t. [laughter] I feel two emotions. [laughter] I’m still kind of mad. ‘Cause… Okay. Do you know what it’s like for 12 people to save your life? It’s too many people. [laughter] They could have done it with four people. And I know the eight they could have cut.

[audience laughing hysterically]

Instead, for the rest of my life, there are 12 separate people out there who if I’m at dinner with them, I have to be like, “No, I got that. Come on.” “Hey, come on. For real.” “You saved my life.” [laughter] “Over Zoom.”

[laughter and applause]

[all cheering]

If anyone here has ever been to rehab, you probably know this, but you are not allowed to bring drugs in with you. [laughter] I don’t know if you all recall my first errand of the evening before my intervention, but I leave that intervention for rehab, I have a lot of narcotics on me. So, back then I was addicted to cocaine, Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin, and Percocet. Called a Providence special.

[laughter and applause]

Providence, Rhode Island. For those of you around the world, there’s a city near here, and it’s a big joke to all of us.

[laughter and applause]

Um… Very silly place. I leave for rehab. I have on my person a full baggie of 30 mg Adderall, a full baggie of Xanax, 3 g of cocaine, and $2,000 in cash. I had other plans that weekend. [laughter] So I get to rehab at four o’clock in the morning and I walk up to the intake desk. And at the intake desk, the woman says, “Do you have any drugs on you?” And I said, “No, I do not.” “May I please go to the bathroom?” Two guys grab me. They take my winter coat off me, they start going through the pockets. They go through the inside zipper pocket of my winter coat. I was like, “How did they find out about the inside zipper pocket?” [laughter] “That pocket has eluded everyone in my life.” They reach in there. They pull out all these pills and all this cash and 2 g of coke. Remember I said I had 3 g? Well, I did a bunch in the car. And I did a bunch at a gas station in the bathroom off of one of those Koala baby changing stations.

[audience groans]

What? That’s what those are for. [laughter] You think you’re supposed to put a human baby on that mouse trap of a device? [laughter] They have gang signs carved into them.

[audience groans]

Those are for snorting coke off of. When you’re a cokehead, you see the world in terms of surfaces. [laughter] So they reach in. They pull out all these pills and all this cocaine and all this cash, and they stare at me. And I said, “Oh, those old winter coats.”

[laughter and applause]

You know that phenomenon. When you’re going through your goose down jackets and you’re like, “Five grand and an eight ball?” [laughter] “From the night we went caroling.” [laughter] “Those old winter coats.” Then they took my prescription drugs from me. My prescriptions. Not the illegal pills I bought on the street. The official prescriptions, with my name on them. And they took them from me simply because I had no business being prescribed them in the first place. [laughter] But, oh, the collection I had. All the effort, all the work that went into it. Do you know how hard it is to get a doctor to write you a prescription for a pill you don’t need? [soft laughter] It’s not hard. [laughing] It’s…

[laughter and applause]

It’s so easy. It’s so easy. Here’s what you do, or here’s what I did, but don’t do it. But if you did do it, it would totally work. Okay. [laughter] Um… Go on… Go on, like, WebMD. Search doctors in your zip code. Okay? And then sort the results. Lowest rating to highest. [laughter] You will not need to scroll far. [laughter] Find the doctor in your area with the lowest number of stars. This person needs your business. [laughter] Is this a bad doctor? Nay, nay. [laughter] This is the best doctor. [laughter] Dude… [laughter] You can walk in there and it’s like Captain Phillips. You can be like, “Look at me, I am the doctor now.” [laughter] You can use their computer. [laughter] Check Yahoo! News or something. I had a doctor in New York City that just wrote me prescriptions. Dr. Michael. No last name. Oh, I don’t mean I’m protecting his identity. He never told me his last name. [laughter] Even before the pandemic, Dr. Michael worked out of his apartment on Second Avenue. That’s odd. [laughter] I’d go to see Dr. Michael, and I’d knock on his door, and he’d always answer the door like this. He’d go, “My wife, Minerva, is sleeping.” Like, really paranoid. But he wasn’t saying, “So keep your voice down.” It was as if he was saying, “I didn’t just kill my wife Minerva.” [laughter] So then we’d go into his kitchenette. To call it a kitchen would be a great exaggeration. And we’d have our appointment. I’d go, “I want Klonopin.” And he’d go, “Okay.” [laughter] And as he was writing it out on the pad and tearing it off, he’d go, “Oh, what’s it for?” And I’d go, “I have anxiety.” And he’d go, “Oh, then you need it.” [laughter] And then Dr. Michael, he’d always go, “Hey, you want a flu shot?” [chuckling] Aw… He wanted to be like a real doctor. [laughter] I go, “No, Michael, you already gave me two flu shots this month, man.” “I feel crazy.” [laughter] “I feel super sick.” Then he’d go, “Do you want a B12 Shot?” “You want a vitamin shot?” So he always wanted to give me a shot of some kind, because he had, like, a thing. I mean, look, a guy named Dr. Michael that works out of his apartment is gonna have a thing. Michael’s thing was, he wanted guys to take their shirts off in his apartment.

[audience exclaims]

You’re all uncomfortable now, but I’m way over it. And also, if you think this story ends with me being like, “And I said, ‘Absolutely not, ‘” you’re about to be so disappointed. [laughter] So we had this little, like, charade. I’d roll up my T-shirt sleeve and Michael would come in with the syringe, and he’d go, “Um, I’m gonna need the whole shirt off.” [laughter] I’d be like, “Thirty Klonopin, two refills…” Wapow! [laughter] And then the sexual harassment would stop, to be fair. So maybe that was his whole thing. It was just getting guys to take their shirts off. Or maybe there was something about me with my shirt off that stops sexual harassment. [laughter] You know, that story has two morals. One, now you know that. [laughter] You didn’t used to. The other moral is this. You should get vaccinated and get a booster and all of that. But… these days, when you hear people be like, “Just trust doctors…” [laughs dryly] Anytime you hear someone say, “Trust doctors,” just remember, somewhere, in a kitchenette… [laughter] …sits Dr. Michael. [laughter] And if he’s so trustworthy, why is Minerva always sleeping? [laughter]

[cheering and applauding]

So they took my prescriptions. They take my prescriptions. Now this was all at four o’clock in the morning when I first checked into rehab. Let’s flash forward 12 hours now to 4:00 p.m. that same day. I’m in my hospital room, in the detox hospital at this rehab. I had to go to detox for like four or five days when I first got there ’cause of everything in my system. I’m in my hospital room. I’ve been in rehab at this point for 12 hours. I have not gone to sleep during that time. And my total time awake to this point – is 50 hours.

[audience exclaims]

Now, the doctors are trying to give me a bunch of medication to calm me down. But by this point in my life, my tolerance for sedatives was superhuman. No matter what they give me, they cannot subdue me. I’m like the great Rasputin, they cannot bring me to my knees.

[laughter]

Just then, a legitimately good doctor walks into my hospital room. If you have only been seeing Dr. Michael for the past few years, a good, legitimate doctor is terrifying. It’s like an exorcist. This guy walked in like, “Hi, I’m Dr. Henry Ford Askew.” I was like, “No. Two names.” [groaning] “No.” Oh! Hey. [intoxicatedly] “You want my shirt off, huh?” “You like this?” “You like stuff?” “What kind of a doctor are you, huh?” “Is your wife dead?” [shushing loudly] I scream at this doctor. I go, “Where’s my Klonopin?” “We cannot give you your Klonopin.” “Why not?” “We are a rehab.”

[laughter]

“I cannot give you a Schedule II narcotic under Pennsylvania state law.” And I said, “Pennsylvania state law?” “Well, what if we go to a pharmacy in New Jersey?” [laughter] You see, I thought he was telling me about a predicament that we were both caught up in.

[laughter and applause]

Like, he was like, “Look, I would love to give you these pills.” “You are clearly a super-chill young man, bobbing and weaving in a hospital gown and a pair of New Balance sneakers for the past 12 hours.” “But this pesky state of Pennsylvania.” “Oh-ho-ho, doctor, what if we go to a pharmacy in New Jersey?” “Oh, my God, no one has ever thought of that.” “You’re the first drug addict here to have a scheme.”

[laughter]

“Let’s go in my car.” “You’re clearly ready to leave the grounds.” That was at 4:00 p.m. Three hours later, 7:00 p.m., I finally go to sleep. They give me enough of this drug called Librium, and I drop. They put a nurse in my hospital room to make sure I stay asleep ’cause I had been trouble. I’m not sure what it was exactly that got them so worried. But it might have been when I said, “I’m gonna pretend to go to sleep.” “And then when you’re all like, ‘He’s asleep, ‘ and you leave my room, I’m gonna run the fuck out of this rehab.” Something about saying that out loud, twice, to two different staff members had raised a few eyebrows. So now I’m asleep, though. I’m legitimately out cold. They have a nurse in my room to make sure I stay asleep. She’s sitting in a chair next to a bedside table. I’m asleep in the bed. My phone is face up on the bedside table next to her. Now, at this exact same time, about 7:00 p.m., my good friend Pete Davidson starts calling me.

Pete…

Yes, that one. Pete…

[laughter]

…was not at my intervention ’cause he was traveling that night, but now he’s landed, he’s found out I’m in rehab, and he’s concerned. So he starts calling. Fun fact about Pete. He changes his cellphone number constantly. I don’t know why. That’s his journey.

[laughter]

Every month and a half I get a text from Pete, saying, “Yo, it’s Pete. New number.” And I go, “Send a pic to prove it.” And he sends a photo like this. Then I save him in my phone. For a long time I just kept saving him again and again as Pete Davidson. At one point, I had nine Pete Davidsons saved in my phone. [in Italian accent] And that’s too many Pete Davidsons.

[in normal voice] So… I started to save him under fake famous people’s names just to mix it up. Like, for a while he was saved in my phone as Rodney Dangerfield. The week I went to rehab, he was saved in my phone as Al Pacino.

[laughter]

So, I’m asleep in bed. A nurse is watching over me. My phone is next to the nurse. And Pete Davidson starts calling again and again and again. But what the nurse sees on the phone…

[laughter]

…is that this unconscious patient is getting, not one, not two, but five missed calls from Oscar winner…

[laughter]

…Al Pacino.

[laughter]

So… she fuckin’ wakes me up.

[audience laughing hysterically]

[applauding]

I don’t blame her. I would’ve been so curious. She wakes… I wake up and she’s shaking me going, “You’re getting a phone call.”

[laughter]

I was so groggy, I was like… [grumbling] I roll over. I’m so exhausted. I look at the phone. I see that it says, “Call from Al Pacino.” I know that that means call from Pete Davidson. But I don’t explain this complex code to the nurse. I just take the call in front of her. I go, “Hello?” “Oh, dog.”

[laughter]

“I’m not doing that well.” “Oh, yeah, no one’s going to blame you.” Now…

[audience continues laughing]

I said that last part because some people suggested that he and I did drugs together because he has tattoos…

[laughter]

…and I am plain.

[laughter]

We must be up to witchcraft. I’ve never done drugs with Pete. He’s always been very supportive of my sobriety. So that’s the conversation I’m having with Pete. But the conversation that the nurse thinks is happening…

[laughter]

It delights me to this day.

[laughter]

“Hello…”

[mimics Al Pacino] “Johnny!”

[laughter] “It’s Al.”

[laughter]

“My little boy blue.” [laughter] “I heard your ass is in rehab.” “How you doing, dog?”

[in normal voice] “Oh, dog.”

[laughter]

“I’m not doing that well.”

[mimics Al Pacino] “Oh!” “My little freckle juice.”

[laughter]

“Reason I’m calling you five times… I think I’m going to get blamed for this.” “Yeah, I’m getting suspicious that when the American public hears about the drug relapse of John Mulaney, they will logically…”

[audience continues laughing]

“…and immediately name… only one culprit.”

[laughter]

“And that is myself!” “Seventy-nine year old…”

[laughter and applause]

“…Oscar winner, Al Pacino!” “Pacino from the Italian.” “‘Pa’ meaning Daddy, and ‘Chino, ‘ meaning khaki pants.”

[laughter]

“They’re going to blame Daddy khaki pants.”

[laughter]

[scattered laughter]

“This line has been compromised.” [laughter] I was in rehab for two months from December 18th to February 20th. I was there January 6th during the insurrection. Wouldn’t have happened on my watch. [laughter] ‘Cause I would have made sure. I would have made sure it didn’t.

[cheering]

Was there ever an insurrection before I went to rehab? No. Has there been one since I got out? Absolutely not. They wouldn’t dare. They know Baby J is back on the streets.

[cheering and applauding]

The whole time I was in rehab, it was very locked down for COVID. So we never got to leave the building. But I’ve heard at some rehabs, they take you on field trips. Like the one I was at, I guess in better times, you got to go to a farm and meet a horse. They do it a lot. It’s called equine therapy. That sounds really nice, but how bad do you feel for that horse? It’s born being like, “One day I’m going to win the Kentucky Derby.” [chuckles] And its whole life it’s just junkies being like, [mimics junkies] “Okay.”

[laughter]

“All right.” “Petting your strong leg gives me confidence.” [laughter] “If I can lift your hoof, it means I’m ready to have my own apartment.” [laughter] When I first got to rehab, one of my biggest fears, was that everyone was going to recognize me. Gradually… [faint laughter] …a new fear took over.

[audience laughing hysterically]

I’m not… I’m not, like exaggerating to be funny. Fucking no one… [laughs]

[laughter and applause]

No one knew who I was.

[audience whistling]

And it was driving me bananas. [laughter] Please don’t repeat this. It was in the newspaper that I was in rehab and I left it out.

[chuckles]

[laughter]

I was like, [high-pitched] “Oh, my God, the paper’s here.” “Get in here, you addicts. Oh, my God!” “Let’s… Oh, I wonder what’s inside.” [laughter] Before I realized that no one knew who I was, I went to this Welcome Group. So, like, I went from the detox ward to the men’s ward where I was gonna live for a few months. When I got there, they had a Welcome Group. And before I walked into the group, I said to myself, I was like, “Be modest.” [laughs]

[laughter]

So, I go in and I sit down and I go, “Hi, I’m John M.” [laughter] And they’re all staring at me like, why are you holding for applause? [laughter] And this one guy, Lenny, who I later became really good friends with. He goes, “What do you do for a living?” The other guys go, “What do you do for a living?” And I was like, ah. And I go, “I’m a stand-up comedian.” And Lenny goes, “You make a living that way?” [laughter] Like, “Yeah, ask your daughter.”

[laughter and applause]

“Or your son if he’s not an athlete.”

[laughter and applause]

Ask only certain sons. [laughter] I got in trouble my second week in rehab. ‘Cause I ordered Outback steakhouse using Postmates. [laughter] There were two things in this Pennsylvania town where I went to rehab. There was an Outback and there was a rehab. But when I ordered the Outback, I somehow thought the delivery guy wouldn’t know what the rehab was. So I gave him the street address of the rehab as if it was my home. [chuckles] And then in the special instructions I wrote, “Don’t stop at the big building.”

[laughter]

“Drive up the hill to the brick dorm and you’ll see a 38-year-old man outside in a robe who’s so excited.”

[laughter]

So the food arrives, but it gets confiscated by the RS on duty. He calls me into his office and he goes, [angrily] “This is fucked up. This is serious.” I go, “It’s just Outback.” He goes, “What if it’s an Outback dry run?” I go, “What’s an Outback dry run?” He goes, “Well this time you order Outback and it’s just food, and we laugh it off and we let it through.” “But what if you left a really big tip, so that next time you order, you go, ‘Hey, remember me?'” “‘I left you a really big tip. ‘I’ll give you an even bigger tip if you get me some drugs.'” I said, “Oh, my God, that is a fantastic idea.”

[laughter]

[man whistling] I worked hard in rehab. I did what my counselors told me. When I first got there, my counselor asked me to write an autobiography of my substance use and abuse. I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “Write all the big life points where you use drugs and alcohol.” I said, “You mean recently or starting at age six?” He said, “You started drinking then?” I said, “Yes.” And then he gave me more paper.

[laughter]

I tried alcohol when I was six. I don’t mean I was at a bar, having a Manhattan or something. We were allowed to try beer and wine. My dad told us when we were kids, “We have a European approach towards alcohol in this house.” That was the only thing we had a European approach towards. Everything else we had a very Midwestern approach. Including Europe. We’re like, “We’re not going there.”

[laughter]

By the time I was 13, I got drunk every weekend. My friends and I would go out on the streets of Chicago, on Lincoln Avenue, and we’d stand in front of liquor stores and try to get adults to go in and buy liquor for us. This was always a very dramatic process – ’cause we were thirteen, we looked nine.

[faint laughter]

We’d be sitting out there like little Charles Dickens’ urchins. Just like, “Sir, please. Sir, Sir, please.” They’d sometimes try to give me money, I’d go, “No, I give you money.” “And you buy me beer in this store, the one where the cashier is watching – this entire exchange through the window.”

[laughter]

In 8th grade once I said to my friends, I go, “We should only ask couples on dates ’cause the guy will want to buy beer for us to look cool in front of the girl.”

[scattered laughter and clapping]

I did not understand adult first date dynamics. [chuckles] As if when he’s dropping her off, she’d be like, [mimics woman] “You know…”

[laughter]

“…I wasn’t sure about you in the beginning of the night, but… when I saw you buy those two 24 packs of Natty Light, using quarters and dimes…”

[laughter]

“…and that one bottle of Boone’s Farm for that really specific child…”

[scattered applause]

“…I was like, this guy might be a keeper.” [laughter] I started doing drugs when I was 14 with my two best friends, John and John. They’re not me. They’re other people.

[laughter]

They were both named John. There was John O’Brien, John McNulty, and then me. My name is John Mulaney. And if you didn’t know that, you were probably in rehab with me.

[laughter]

One time… [chuckles] One time when we were 16, me, John and John, we were in a parking lot at night and we were smoking a joint. We’re getting high. And a police car pulled in out of nowhere like… We went, “Shit.” And we threw the joint we had down a sewer and we got rid of all of our weed. But they still called us over and made us put our hands on the patrol car. “Line up and put your hands on the hood.” So the three of us line up and we put our hands on the patrol car. The police officer walks up to John O’Brien first and he starts to give him a pat down. He goes, “What’s your name?” He goes, “John.”

[laughter]

Then he goes to John McNulty. [chuckles] Starts to give him a pat down. He goes, “What’s your name?” He goes, “John.”

[laughter]

Then he got to me. Before he gave me a pat down, he leaned in and whispered in my ear, “Your name better fucking not be John.”

[laughter and applause]

“They call me Baby J out on these streets.”

[cheering and applauding]

One thing you do in rehab, you sit down with your counselor and you go through your phone. And a lot of times they’ll have you delete and block any drug dealers or any bad influences numbers that you have. In some cases, you reach out to the people first and you tell them, “Hey, I’m going to delete and block you.” So that they don’t try to track you down later. It’s called breaking up with your dealer. So I did this one day. I sat with my counselor, I go through my phone. I went to my main dealer Arvin, first. And I texted him and I said, “Hey, I’m deleting and blocking you.” “I’m never going to buy drugs from you again.” “I’m sober now.” Then I didn’t know how to end the text. So I go, “But thank you for… [laughs] your many years of inspired professionalism, and the many nights that became days.” I send the text. Before I can delete and block him, Arvin texts me back. He goes, “Hey, I’m so proud of you for getting sober.” Then he writes, “You know, I only bought drugs to sell to you ’cause I was worried about you and I didn’t want you to get worse stuff off the street.”

[laughter]

I know. And I’m breaking up with this guy? [laughter] So I… I can’t delete him now. I text him back. I go, “You sweet man.”

[laughter]

I said… I said, “You only bought drugs to sell to me?” He says, “Yeah.” I say, “Did you sell drugs to other people?” He says, “No.”

[soft laughter]

Then I say, “Hey, this is a weird time to ask, but are you a drug dealer?” [laughter] He goes, “No, I’m a painter, we talked about this.”

[laughter]

[scattered applause]

Boston, to this day, I have no idea how I know this person. [laughter] So I text him back. And I say, “How did it come to be…” [laughter] “…that you sell me drugs?” And he wrote back, “I don’t know.” “You just kept asking.”

[audience laughing hysterically]

I like that story ’cause there are many tales of drug dealers who have turned innocent people into drug addicts. [laughter] I might be the first drug addict to turn an innocent man into a drug dealer.

[all applauding]

And that is the promise of J.

[cheering and whistling]

In rehab, we would sit around in group a lot. And we would sit around and share stories of the most desperate things we did to get drugs. And I would like to share one of those with you now. So a little context for this story. Uh, in January of 2020, I’m very addicted to cocaine. I want to stop. Uh, so rather than talk to a drug counselor, or any type of counselor or a therapist or a doctor or literally anyone in my life, I call my accountant. And I go, “Hey, I’m addicted to coke.” “You need to stop giving me money.” “Don’t give me any cash.” He goes, “God, this is not what I signed up for.”

[laughter]

I go, “The only way you can give me cash is if I email you and CC my doctor.” “That’s the new rule.” I hang up the phone. I’m immediately mad about the rule. [laughter] I’m like, “It’s my money.” “Son of a bitch wants me to email him with my doctor?” So rather than pick up the phone and call him back and say, “Hey, that’s not a rule anymore.” Which I could totally do because I’m a grown man and he works for me. Instead, I spend the next six months finding elaborate ways to steal my own money from myself.

[laughter]

In August of 2020, I was very strung out. I desperately wanted cocaine. And I realized I still had a credit card that worked. And I decided I was going to buy a Rolex watch with my credit card and pawn it for cash five minutes later. I’m pretty good at reading a room. You’re all very impressed by this plan.

[laughter]

So, one day in August of 2020, when it is 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, I walk in to the Rolex store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. I walk in. All the guys in there are in suits. And they’re going like, “Hmm, watches… Switzerland…” They move like animatronics. I walk in there. I’m wearing very light jeans, cuffed twice at the ankle, white Reebok sneakers, white socks, a very long white T-shirt, a white baseball cap. I am chewing Nicorette gum. I have a JanSport backpack hiked up as high as it can possibly go. I am 38 years old.

[audience laughing hysterically]

I walk into the store and I walked up to the first display case I saw, and I went, “That one. Hi!” “That one. I loved that watch.” “I want that watch, please.” The salesmen turns around. He has a handkerchief already like he’s a magician. He goes, “Ah!” “I see you’re looking at the rose gold watch.” “Would you like to see any other time pieces?” I go, “No, no, I’m not interested in timepieces.” “Just watches. That’s the one I want.” “I researched it.” “I know everything about it. Give me the watch, please.” He opens the display case, he takes the watch out. It’s on its own little, like, suede bed, you know. He goes, “Shall we try it on your wrist?” I go, “No time. No need.” “It’s not for me.” “It’s a gift for my brother, and I know his wrist so well.” “When you’re brothers, you look over.” “We shared a room, I’d see his wrists, so I know it’s going to be perfect.” He goes, “Ah! A gift for your brother.” “And tell me, what rings does your brother wear?” I go… “What?”

[laughter]

“Is this some kind of a riddle?” [laughter] “Is this the initiation to some Yale White People Society?”

[laughter]

“What do you mean, what kind of rings does my brother wear?” He goes, “Well… uh, if your brother wears rings of yellow or white gold, you may not want a rose gold watch.” “As you may know, you should never mix metals.” I go, “First off, I’m insulted you only think I might know that.” [laughter] “I definitely know that as well as all other facts.” [laughter] “I never mix…” “I wouldn’t put, uh, an aluminum can next to a teakettle.”

[laughter]

“I wouldn’t put a trumpet on a radiator.” “I… Call me old fashioned but I believe in this strict segregation.” “You heard me. Segregation of metals within the home.” “Secondly, my brother has no rings and he never will.” “He never will. My brother, oh, he has no fingers.”

“He has a stump.”

[laughter]

“That… He has a stump of a hand.” “That’s what the watch is for. Don’t you see?” “The watch will adorn the stump, so that when he looks down at this foul thing, he will see the beautiful watch.” “And he will think only of the generosity of his little brother and not the horrible Vitamix accident that claimed his digits.” “Sell me the watch, please.”

[laughter and applause]

The guy takes out a green Rolex box and he opens it, puts the watch in. There’s a little cardboard card in the box. He takes out a fountain pen and he’s writing on the card… for what I thought was too long. I was like, “Jesus Christ, is he writing a letter to the watch?” “He knows I’m going to pawn it, wants it to have a letter to know where it came from.” “Everyone in this store knows I’m about to pawn this watch.” “They think I’m dirt, but I’m not. I’m God.” That’s what’s going through my head. The guy takes out a ribbon and I go, [aggressively] “No. No gift wrap.” He goes, [calmly] “I thought you said this was a gift.” I go, “No. But my brother and I, we’re not like that.” “We’re not fancy. I’m going to run past his house.” “I’m going to throw the watch in the air.” “He’s going to catch it on his stump.” “I can’t show up with some big elaborate ribbon.” “And how would my brother even untie that? I confided in you.” “I confided in you about his condition and now you’re giving me all this.” “What do you expect him to do? Pull it apart with his teeth?” “Sell me the watch for cocaine.”

[audience laughing hysterically]

[applause, whistling]

He takes my credit card. He runs it. He gives me my card back. He takes out a Rolex shopping bag. I immediately spin my JanSport backpack around, opened and unzipped. And I go, “No need.”

[laughter]

He puts the watch box in my backpack. I zip it up. Before I’m even out the door of the store, I take out my phone and I google, ‘Where sell watch right now in New York City.’ A place called ‘Sell your watch right now NYC’ comes up. I was like, “Finally, someone in this town gets me.”

[laughter]

I call the place and I go, “Hello. Um, yes, I have a Rolex watch to sell.” “May I come in today?” The guy goes, “Yes, yes. What time do you want to come in?” I go, “I am two minutes away and I am sprinting towards your store.” “I will be there in one minute.” And he goes, “Okay, I’m across the street at lunch.” “I’ll start running too.” [chuckling] So now he and I are both running down 47th Street. My backpack is flying back and forth to either side like an old lady’s big bosoms when she jumps up and down on the showcase showdown.

[laughter]

We get to his business. It’s above one of those big Diamond Martz, but his office is upstairs. so we go upstairs. He buzzes me in through two bulletproof glass doors. You’ve seen Uncut Gems. We go into his office and we sit down, and now I have to change gears. Because, yes, I’ve been frenzied all morning, but I’m now selling the watch. I can’t act desperate to sell it. I need to get the right price. So I have to play it very cool. So I slowly removed my backpack, revealing a perfect outline of sweat on the straps and back. He offers me water, which I immediately refuse. Despite the fact that my lips are sticking to my teeth.

[laughter]

I say, “Hello. I have a beautiful watch to sell.” “I’m in no hurry to sell it.” “I’ve had it for many years.” “I’ve never worn it either, so it’s in perfect condition.” He goes, “You’ve had this watch for many years?” I go, “That is correct.” He goes, “Why don’t you wear it then?” I said, “Oh, I would love to wear this watch.” “But you see, I wear rings…”

[audience laughing hysterically]

“…of yellow gold, and silver gold.”

[laughter]

“And as we both know…”

[laughter]

“…you must never mush metals.”

[woman in audience] “Mush metals.”

The guy opens the Rolex watch box he looks in, he looks at the little card that the guy was writing with a fountain pen on. He looks at the card. He looks at me. He looks at the card. He goes, “You’ve had this watch for many years?” I go, “Uh-huh.” He goes, “This is today’s date.” [laughter] And I said, “That’s right.”

[laughter]

And I stared at him… with all the charm and charisma left in my drug-addled body, hoping I could somehow bend logic to make both things be true at once. I have had this watch for many years. And that is today’s date.

[laughter]

At this point, he realizes he has the upper hand in this negotiation. [laughter] I bought the watch for $12,000. Before you all flip out… [laughter] …please remember, watches depreciate… within seconds of leaving the store. I bought the watch for $12,000. He goes, “$5000.” I go. “No.”

He goes, “$6000.” I go, “Yes.”

[laughter]

I feel your judgment. You must think I’m pretty stupid. Well, let me ask you this. Why don’t you name a better way… to make $6000… in five minutes… [laughter] by only spending…

[laughter]

…$12,000?

[laughter and applause]

And… as you process and digest how obnoxious, wasteful and unlikable that story is, just remember, that’s one I’m willing to tell you.

[laughter]

[cheering and applauding]

It’s weird to be a recovering drug addict. It was weird to be a drug addict, but at least I was on drugs. [laughter] It’s strange sometimes, you know, like I’m doing great. But when I’m alone, I’m with the person that tried to kill me. Sometimes I walk past a mirror, I’m like, “This fucking guy again.” “Jesus.” That is kind of a creepy feeling sometimes. But it’s also a nice feeling. It gives me a strange kind of confidence sometimes, because, like, look, I… I used to care what everyone thought about me… so much. It was all I cared about. All I cared about was what other people thought of me. And I don’t anymore. And I don’t because I can honestly say, what is someone going to do to me that’s worse than what I would do to myself. What, are you going to cancel John Mulaney? I’ll kill him.

[laughter]

[scattered applause]

I almost did. [woman cackling] I was in a museum in Detroit with my son. I was pushing him in a stroller through this big room where they have all these Diego Rivera murals. And I was explaining to my son, Malcolm. He was about nine months at the time. Diego Rivera was brilliant but a communist. [laughter] And Malcolm was just blowing kisses to inanimate objects and crossing his eyes as he shit his diaper.

[laughter]

And I’d never been out with him and had to change a diaper alone in public before. So I went up to the museum docent, and I said, “Is there anywhere I can change my baby?” And she goes, “Yeah, the men’s room would be fine.” I go, “Okay.” And I push him in the men’s room. And I walk in there and I look on the wall.

[laughter]

[scattered applause]

“Hello, old friend.”

[laughing and cheering]

My life is in a much, much better place now. But… if I ever feel that I need a reminder… Thank you very much. …of just how bad things used to be. I luckily, have this This is an interview that I gave to GQ magazine, that I have absolutely no memory of giving. [laughter] Have you ever had a conversation on drugs that you don’t remember the next day?

Was it a very long interview?

[laughter]

I gave this interview December 15th, 2020. My intervention was December 18th. [faint laughter] So it’s bad that it was before. I guess what happened was a reporter called me and he said, “Hey, I’d like to interview you.” I was on a lot of cocaine, and I don’t know if you know how cocaine works, but that is great news.

[laughter]

So I want to share a few highlights from this interview that I have no memory of giving. Beginning with a line in their introduction, which says, “GQ hopped on the phone with the comedian, for a wide ranging conversation.”

[laughter]

First question. “GQ: What are you up to today?”

“Mulaney: I walked past what is supposedly the most haunted building in New York City.”

[laughter]

“GQ: Oh!”

[laughter]

“Where is that?”

“Mulaney: It’s a vacuum cleaner store, and it’s on 14th between 5th and 6th, and it used to be a boarding house.”

“My, oh my, apparently just incredibly haunted, and I’m talking like Poltergeist haunted.”

[laughter]

“GQ: Okay.”

[laughter]

“Did you get a chill or a bad vibe?”

“Mulaney: It doesn’t give me a bad vibe anymore.”

“I think when I first walked past it, I knew what it was.”

“So maybe I faked the bad vibes.”

What?

[laughter]

What could he mean? By the way, they have editors. They could have helped me out.

[laughter]

“I think when I first walked past it, I knew what it was.”

“So maybe I faked the bad vibes.”

“Although I walked by a house that was haunted in Los Angeles once, I didn’t know it was haunted.”

“I was just kind of like, ‘Oh, what’s this house?’ “

“And then slowly, I was like, ‘Nah, I don’t like this house.’ “

” ‘I’m going to walk away from here with my dog.’ “

“And then I found out it was called the murder house of Los Feliz.”

“And then I found out that it had a terrible history.”

“Yes, that’s the only time that I’ve really had a creeping sense of ghouls and ghosts out of nowhere, and then have it to be proven totally correct.”

[laughter]

[cheering and applauding]

No. There was not another question asked in the midst of that run, I am still answering the question, “What did you do today?”

[laughter]

Also, I goddamn love that I used the word “ghouls.”

[laughter]

When do you get to say that? Next question.

“GQ: I want to talk to you about how this year has been for you creatively because around this time last year, you were coming off of the Sack Lunch Bunch, which was arguably one of your biggest creative risks, and it really paid off.”

“How has your creative process been impacted by this year?”

“Mulaney: [excitedly] If you heard that spoon drop, it’s ’cause I’m eating a bowl of fruit loops.”

[audience laughing hysterically]

[scattered applause]

Phenomenal. Phenomenal answer… to any question in life. Always call out and identify every noise in a room. It doesn’t come off paranoid… at all.

Next question. “GQ Magazine: Watching you on late night with Seth Meyers made me wonder, would you ever want your own talk show?”

“Mulaney: Okay. So…” [cheerfully] “I had two ideas for a talk show once.” [in normal voice] Let’s pause and appreciate that sentence for a sec. “I had two ideas for a talk show once.” [high-pitched] “And by ideas, I mean, I thought about them in the privacy of my own room.”

[laughter]

“One idea would be just interviewing people who do anything that interests me.” “And I don’t mean like I’m on the ground and I’m watching them do their job.” “No, it would be like a talk show set.” “And they’d come out there. And there’d be a band and so forth.” [in normal voice] Okay, let’s pause right here. So, just to recap. I had two ideas… for a talk show once. And the first of these is a talk show. [laughter] [excitedly] “The other idea was to have a show and just have on only elderly people.” [laughter] “Which I obviously would not do now due to the risks.”

[laughter]

[cheering]

[whistling] [chuckling] “But I just thought it would be great to talk to old people, especially if they were comfortable talking about being at the end of their lives.”

[laughter]

Next question. “GQ: Speaking of television, [chuckles] you had that sitcom that didn’t pan out, but that was such a long time ago.” “We’re in an era where networks and all these different streaming services are giving creators seemingly more room to make the shows that they want.” “Given that, would you try it again?”

“Mulaney: Are you talking about a multi-cam, live audience sitcom, The way I did it?”

“GQ: No.”

[laughter]

[chuckles] “Not necessarily.”

“Mulaney: I would do the exact same show I did before, and the only thing I would change is the audience.”

[hysterical laughter]

[applauding and cheering]

And here’s how it wraps up. “GQ: I think what we’ve established in this conversation is that there are a ton of different ideas rattling around in your head that you should definitely make happen.”

“Mulaney: If that’s what people take away from this, I’d be thrilled.” [laughter]

“GQ: Okay.” [soft laughter] “I’m going to let you go.” “I don’t want to take too much of your time away from the fruit loops.”

[laughter]

[high-pitched] “Mulaney: What are you talking about?”

[laughter and applause]

[laughs boisterously]

“They’re long gone.” Good night, Boston. Thank you very, very much.

[cheering and applauding]

[slow-tempo bass music playing]

[cheers and applause continue]

[music continues]

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Nikki Glaser: Someday You'll Die (2024)

Nikki Glaser: Someday You’ll Die (2024) | Transcript

Nikki Glaser explores a variety of personal topics, such as her choice not to have children, the stark realities of aging, her sexual fantasies, and her thoughts on mortality—all presented in her characteristically hilarious, unapologetic, and brutally honest style.

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