100 John Mulaney Quotes

These John Mulaney quotes are more than just for laughs.

They also show us bits and pieces of his life as a comedian and how he struggled through and triumphed over addiction.

So, if you’re looking for some funny but wise quotes that will help you keep going when times are rough, be sure to check out our collection of his top 100 quotes.

Let’s get started.

And don’t miss out these Steven Wright quotes and Dave Chappelle quotes.

Best John Mulaney Quotes

John Mulaney Quote - It's 100% easier not to do things than to do them.

1. “It’s 100% easier not to do things than to do them.”

2. “Do you want a salad or fries? That’s like asking, ‘Do you want to go for a jog or freebase cocaine?’”

3. “I always thought that quicksand was gonna be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be. You watch cartoons and quicksand is like the third biggest thing you have to worry about, behind the actual sticks of dynamite and giant anvils falling on you from the sky.”

4. “Here’s how easy it was to get away with bank robbery back in the ’30s—as long as you weren’t still there when the police arrived, you had a 99% chance of getting away with it.”

John Mulaney Quote - Things don't exist until they exist.

5. “Things don’t exist until they exist.”

6. “You have your law practice; and me, I have all these fucking markers.”

7. “For those of you who don’t know what it is, blackout drinking is when your brain goes to sleep, but your body gets all ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and soldiers on.”

8. “When I’m walking down the street, I don’t think anybody goes, ‘Hey look at that man.’ They’re just like, ‘Woah, that tall child looks terrible.’”

9. “I was bullied when I was in school for being Asian-American. The biggest problem with that is that I’m not Asian-American.”

John Mulaney Quote - I am very small and I have no money, so you can imagine the king of stress that I am under.

10. “I am very small and I have no money, so you can imagine the king of stress that I am under.”

11. “I don’t look like someone who used to do anything. I look like I was just sitting in a room with a chair eating saltines for 28 years and then walked right out here.”

12. “I was once on the telephone with Blockbuster Video, which is a very old-fashioned sentence.”

13. “I have a lot of stories about being a kid because it was the last time I was interesting.”

14. “Now I get to say, ‘My wife,’ which is very exciting. It has a lot of power to it. It’s fun to say, ‘My wife.’”

John Mulaney Quote - It was so beautiful today that I only watched four hours of Law & Order in my apartment.

15. “It was so beautiful today that I only watched four hours of Law & Order in my apartment.”

16. “If you are a school student, your opinion does not matter.”

17. “You should be able to say, ‘I don’t know.’ That should be an acceptable answer on a test.”

18. “All my money is in a savings account. My dad has explained the stock market to me maybe 75 times. I still don’t understand it.”

19. “By 2029, I’ll be drinking moon juice with President Johnathan Taylor Thomas.”

John Mulaney Quotes on Luck and Hard Work

John Mulaney Quote - You can do good work by simply staying up all night and eating nothing but junk food, but probably not in the long term.

20. “You can do good work by simply staying up all night and eating nothing but junk food, but probably not in the long term.”

21. “I’m a very lucky person. I’m an idiot, and I’ve shoveled through life rather nicely so far, so I don’t feel like I deserve good treatment.”

22. “I like when things are crazy. Something good comes out of exhaustion.”

23. “Comfort is everything. You start doing something and you want it to be perfect right away, but most babies are born ugly and then they shake it out and you get beautiful toddlers.”

24. “Going on the road for long stretches can seem daunting, and I certainly miss being home sometimes, but the chance to see so many different cities, let alone perform in them, is something I am really grateful for.”

John Mulaney Quote - The more you do stuff, the better you get at dealing with how you still fail at it a lot of the time.

25. “The more you do stuff, the better you get at dealing with how you still fail at it a lot of the time.”

26. “You have the moral backbone of a chocolate eclair.”

27. “I never knew you were supposed to push off of your feet when you walked. And I tried it, and I walked much faster.”

28. “Just because you’re accurate doesn’t mean you’re interesting.”

29. “People having expectations may mean they’ve enjoyed what I’ve done.”

John Mulaney Quote - Being president looks like the worst job in the world.

30. “Being president looks like the worst job in the world.”

31. “Maybe I just have high self-esteem, but I have a lot that I really enjoy.”

32. “I definitely look like a toddler. I feel comfortable and I have a lot of fun out there. And if I were to be extremely egotistical, I’d say I got a tiny bit better.”

33. “In every case, I find pre-planning noble, but not always that useful in comedy.”

34. “Understudies don’t normally get invited to openings.”

John Mulaney Quote - You remember being 12, when you're like, No one will look at me or I'll kill myself.

35. “You remember being 12, when you’re like, ‘No one will look at me or I’ll kill myself.’”

36. “Sometimes, people would say, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ But that just meant, ‘Stop.’”

37. “It’s like there’s a horse loose in a hospital.”

38. “And now there’s new Nazis! I don’t care for these new Nazis and you may quote me on that.”

39. “13-year olds are the meanest people in the world.”

John Mulaney Quotes on Comedy and Humor

John Mulaney Quote - I am now gross. I am damp all the time. I am damp now and I will be damp later.

40. “I am now gross. I am damp all the time. I am damp now and I will be damp later. Like the back of a dolphin, my back. The butt part of my pants is damp a lot. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but isn’t it, though? I’ll be in a restaurant and I’ll get up and be like, ‘What did I sit in?’ And it was me.”

41. “The world is run by computers. The world is run by robots and we spend most of our day telling them we’re not a robot just so we can log on and look at our own stuff.”

42. “I like making fun of myself a lot. I like being made fun of too. I’ve always enjoyed it. There’s just something really, really funny about someone tearing into me.”

43. “Irish people don’t want comfort. Look at a sweater made in Ireland. It’s like a turtleneck made out of Brillo pads.”

44. “According to the Girl Scouts’ website you cannot buy Girl Scout cookies online. Do you know what you can buy online? Everything.”

John Mulaney Quote - I'll book a ticket on some garbage airline. I don't wanna name an actual airline so let's make one up, let's just call it like Delta Airlines.

45. “I’ll book a ticket on some garbage airline. I don’t wanna name an actual airline so let’s make one up, let’s just call it like Delta Airlines.”

46. “I look back on being 17 and think, ‘Oh my God, how did I not die?’”

47. “I just watched a ton of comedy and saw a ton of different styles, and eventually you think, ‘Oh, yeah, I could be like that.’”

48. “I kind of thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny to take a swing at being on the weird side of the mainstream?’”

49. “Things have to be funny first, and if they want to have a point, that’s awesome.”

John Mulaney Quote - I was new to acting on a stage in a narrative as opposed to acting on a stage as a stand-up.

50. “I was new to acting on a stage in a narrative as opposed to acting on a stage as a stand-up. And like everything else, it’s just like comfort level. The first time I did stand-up, I was at a place called the B3 in New York on Third and Avenue B and I not only didn’t take the mic out of the stand, but I clutched the stand of the entire time.”

51. “Occasionally, you get that one person that says, ‘I really like that one part of this joke,’ and you go, ‘Oh thank you that’s my favorite part too.’ But no, in order for it to be authentic, hopefully you have jokes that everyone can just get on board with and then you have a few things for yourself.”

52. “You all have a relative who is an expert even though they really don’t know what they’re talking about.”

53. “There are a lot of great jokes you can sit down and write, but that’s just a written joke, versus the comedy of the situation. Ideally, you’re pulling as much comedy out of the situation as you can.”

54. “I really set out to do this traditional looking and traditional sounding multi-cam sitcom, but then make the world as elastic as an animated show could be. Make the world as surreal as we wanted it to be.”

John Mulaney Quote - It's important to remember that life is a joke and that outlook grants a lot of perspective.

55. “It’s important to remember that life is a joke and that outlook grants a lot of perspective, but I don’t think comedy should change and become political due to other things. It should just laugh at that cosmic joke that life is all the time.”

56. “I’m a very straightforward person, but that’s fine for a comedian. Because a lot of times, you’re talking about everyone else.”

57. “I remember writing stand-up jokes without having done sets. But as soon as I did my first set, it didn’t matter. Everything I thought would work, didn’t work. And everything I was iffy on, was funny.”

58. “You know comedy once you’re doing it.”

59. “I wish I could go tell the 12-year-old me, like, ‘Don’t worry that you just fainted in front of all the girls, one day you’ll be able to make this into an episode of TV.’”

John Mulaney Quote - If I was at the Comedy Cellar at midnight, you yelled at the back of the room.

60. “If I was at the Comedy Cellar at midnight, you yelled at the back of the room. But you, for television, play it to the camera because yes, you’re communicating to the people at home using the studio audience that’s right in front of you as a guide for that.”

61. “My stand-up persona is like, ‘I’ll heighten things, but I’m observing the world as it is in sort of a heightened emotional state.’”

62. “Having done stand-up on television and in stand-up specials like Comedy Central, you learn quickly that for that type of performance you’re playing to the camera.”

63. “I never turn on the crowd. Sometimes, you think it’s a terrible show, and then afterward, sometimes people say they really liked it. So turning on the crowd is only going to alienate the few people who might like it.”

64. “Sometimes, I, with comedy, it’s like someone liking you in high school. They either do, or they don’t. And when they don’t, they don’t. And that’s it. There are no appeals. You show up, and you’re like, ‘Hi! I’m-’ and you stumble, and they’re like, ‘It’s over.’”

John Mulaney Quote - If something is very, very funny but possibly controversial, if it's truly funny, then it's worth doing.

65. “If something is very, very funny but possibly controversial, if it’s truly funny, then it’s worth doing. Things aren’t worth doing for the sake of being controversial.”

66. “I love comedians that dive into politics. I personally don’t feel comfortable with my background weighing in, unless I have a take that I think is funny enough that I would put it in front of an audience.”

67. “I have found that people who really want to work at Saturday Night Live and pursue it get pretty close. You have to be funny, but everyone who works there, it was their dream to work there. So it’s kind of nice in that way. There’s a lot of people who say, ‘I just always wanted to do this, and now I’m doing it.’”

68. “It’s wrong to make fun of people but it’s so fun sometimes.”

69. “It seems like everyone, everywhere, is super mad about everything, all the time.”

John Mulaney Quotes on Wisdom and Everyday Life

John Mulaney Quote - Eventually, you have to pick a side and stick with it. No more equivocating.

70. “You can’t always see both sides of the story. Eventually, you have to pick a side and stick with it. No more equivocating. You have to commit.”

71. “8th graders will make fun of you, but in an accurate way. They will get to the thing that you don’t like about you. They don’t even have to look at you long.”

72. “My childhood was completely dominated by Bill Clinton and the OJ trial. I don’t think we had a family dinner where one didn’t come up.”

73. “You have an imagination, you have a movie theater in your mind that plays arguments!”

74. “I never talked to my dad about that, but I figured I’d tell all of you.”

John Mulaney Quote - I'll keep all my emotions right here, and then one day I'll die.

75. “I’ll keep all my emotions right here, and then one day I’ll die.”

76. “Stand-up for me is just my opinions on things, so it wouldn’t be as fun translated into a sketch, nor would a sketch be as fun if it were me standing there saying it.”

77. “I don’t make plans anymore, so I’m not living minute to minute.”

78. “If you’re comparing the badness of two words and you won’t even say one of them, that’s the worse word.”

79. “Email viruses bring people together in amazing ways.”

John Mulaney Quote - Why do people shush animals? They've never spoken.

80. “Why do people shush animals? They’ve never spoken.”

81. “I was always the squarest person in the cool room, and alternatively, sometimes the weirder person at the mainstream table.”

82. “I like to turn on the TV and watch whatever’s on. Nick Kroll does that a lot. He doesn’t watch important shows. He’ll just turn on a documentary on Mia Hamm and watch it for an hour. Whatever’s on, we watch.”

83. “I stopped drinking when I was 23. I kind of started when I was 13, so it was a 10-year run. But I just became a bad, annoying, drunk child, so when I stopped, I’d done a lot of things I wasn’t proud of.”

84. “I’ve always believed that you often need less. You don’t need to hear why people are friends, you don’t need to hear why people are roommates, you don’t need to hear why someone would help a friend to do something.”

John Mulaney Quote - I was a real extrovert when I was little, but I don't know, I just got quieter. With my friends, I was still an extrovert.

85. “As I got into high school and after puberty, I was a little more inward. I was a real extrovert when I was little, but I don’t know, I just got quieter. With my friends, I was still an extrovert.”

86. “It was funny to be an emcee, because you’re so at the mercy of the club. You can show up for the weekend hoping to get the $400, and get fired. I had to prank whoever they told me to prank.”

87. “I like that idea that what I do might be mainstream—might be.”

88. “The best-case scenario is everything goes perfect and smooth, but we’re also a new and weird show. So all my conversations were, ‘Hey, last night didn’t go perfect, but we kind of know what we’ve got in store for everybody episode-wise.’”

89. “I do longer runs on things—a lot of stories. I really like one-liners. I like a lot of different kinds of stand-up but I’ve always been long-winded.”

John Mulaney Quote - An episode that is near and dear to my heart is the entire cast in one room for the night because we get bed bugs in our apartment building so we have to stay with Martin Short.

90. “An episode that is near and dear to my heart is the entire cast in one room for the night because we get bed bugs in our apartment building so we have to stay with Martin Short.”

91. “I quit drinking because I used to drink too much, then I would black out, and I would ruin parties.”

92. “My dad is and was very funny and had a really dry sense of humor, which, as a kid, seemed un-fun. But in retrospect, it’s kind of hilarious.”

93. “When you have something that you did so many jobs on and were so front and center on, and then people dislike it, you want to learn lessons from it, and you want to move on, and you want to move on too fast.”

94. “I had a lot of fun writing things that died during dress rehearsal. Sometimes, I remember the crazy ones that died even more fondly than the ones that did really well.”

John Mulaney Quote - My vibe is like, Hey, you could probably pour soup in my lap and I'll apologize to you.

95. “My vibe is like, ‘Hey, you could probably pour soup in my lap and I’ll apologize to you.’”

96. “I have tons of jokes with moments in them over the years in stand-up that don’t get a laugh, but I love them, so they stay.”

97. “In terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.”

98. “I don’t look older, I just look worse.”

99. “When I walk down the street, I need everybody, all day long, to like me so much. It’s exhausting.”

John Mulaney Quote - I think eventually, everything's gonna be okay.

100. “I think eventually, everything’s gonna be okay, but I have no idea what’s gonna happen next. And neither do you. And neither do your parents.”

Do You Believe That Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine?

John Mulaney is one of the most popular—and considered to be one of the funniest—comedians today. He worked as a writer and a host for Saturday Night Live and also co-created some of the best comedy shows on Netflix like The Comeback Kid. As a comedian, people look to him for some laughs. However, John Mulaney isn’t just all about comedy. He’s always been very open about his struggles with addiction, and used this as a bridge to help other people who are also struggling with similar things. Though life isn’t always going to be easy and full of happiness, if we look at challenges as lessons we can learn from, then someday, we’ll be able to look back at these things in a more positive light.

What’s your favorite John Mulaney quote? Which ones made you smile the most? Share your favorite quotes below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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