How Matthew Perry Inspired John Mulaney Amid His Own Addiction Battle


Although the two men didn’t know each other, comedian John Mulaney and the late Matthew Perry both have something in common in that they’ve faced their own respective addiction battles in the public eye. Mulaney detailed his latest fall off the wagon in his recent standup special, Baby J; whereas Perry wrote about his decades-long sobriety struggles in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.

As such, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Perry’s candid transparency about his own addiction may have had a profound effect on Mulaney. The 41-year-old spoke with Variety just weeks after the Friends actor’s sudden passing at 54, opening up about how he was impacted by Perry’s journey.

“Addiction is just a disaster,” Mulaney explained. “Life is like a wobbly table at a restaurant and you pile all this shit on it, and it gets wobblier and wobblier and more unstable. Then drugs just kick the fucking legs out from under the table. I really identified with his story. I’m thinking about him a lot.”

Mulaney also spoke about his last stint in rehab three years ago, and how he couldn’t make a return to the stage without addressing the elephant in the room, so to speak.

“Going to rehab and a lot of other things had become public knowledge, and I felt there was no way to start doing stand-up again without going through this,” he recalled. “I also had a lot to say about it. It had been an extremely eventful time, and the goal from the beginning was to do this as funny as I could make it—not as impactful as I could make it, not to pause for dramatic effect.

“I just wanted it to be a little wilder and put you in my very confident, demented brain during the time of addiction,” Mulaney added.

Suffice to say, the strategy seems to have paid off, as Baby J has been widely praised by critics and audiences alike for its raw, hilarious honesty.

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