John Mulaney Opens Up About Past Addiction: "I Drank For Attention"

John Mulaney Opens Up About Past Addiction: "I Drank For Attention"

The Emmy-winning comedian was a blackout drinker but got sober early in his career.

Celebrated comedian John Mulaney recently opened up to Esquire about how he got sober at a young age and never looked back.

Like many comedians, Mulaney has battled substance use disorder and even used the disease as material for his routines. Mulaney first started drinking when he was 13, and as he explained to the men’s mag, “I drank for attention. I was really outgoing, then at 12, I wasn’t. I didn’t know how to act. And then I was drinking, and I was hilarious again.” 

Booze, Cocaine & Vicodin

Following the pattern of many when they first become addicted, his drinking then transitioned into the use of other substances. Unlike a lot of teens, Mulaney wasn’t a fan of smoking pot, but he liked to mix cocaine and prescription drugs together.

“I wasn’t a good athlete, so maybe it was some young male thing of ‘This is the physical feat I can do. Three Vicodin and a tequila and I’m still standing. Who’s the athlete now?'”

Mulaney suffered from blackouts, and at one point he remembers drinking perfume. Then he went through a big bender when he was 23 and the experience served as a major turning point in his young life.

“I was like, ‘You’re fucking out of control. I said to myself, I don’t like this guy anymore. I’m not rooting for him.'” 

Helping Pete Davidson

When Mulaney quit alcohol and cocaine, he didn’t join a 12-step group. He says he quit cold turkey, and is sober to this day. After cleaning up his act, he’s also been trying to help troubled SNL star Pete Davidson. He explained to Davidson, “You can have a life in comedy that is not insane – a sober, domestic life.” 

Earlier this year, Mulaney appeared on SNL with Davidson, where they joked about mental health during the “Weekend Update” segment of the show. In the segment, Mulaney confirmed that he and Davidson spent time together, “but a lot of the time it looks like I’m Pete’s lawyer.” 

To which, Davidson retorted, “And after observing John’s life I publicly threatened suicide. I know I shouldn’t make that joke, but it’s funny.” 

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