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The John Mulaney Lie

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The John Mulaney Lie

Once, circa 2012, I saw John Mulaney riding the MetroNorth train to Connecticut. He looked morose (though, appropriately morose for riding the MetroNorth train to Connecticut), but that's not why I hesitated to say anything to him. Despite being a huge fan of everything from Best Week Ever to New In Town — just released that year — I knew better than to tap him on the shoulder and tell him I loved his work, or even give him a knowing nod. Because as any normal who has ever crossed paths with a celebrity might have told you: never meet your heroes.

But, in 2021, Mulaney's fans are meeting him all over again.

Just one year ago, the Mulaney fandom had a distinct picture of the comedian: sober, happily married, happily childless (unless you count his bulldog Petunia — and you should count his bulldog Petunia). His December 2020 stint in rehab, however, pressed a big eraser to that picture, and started drawing a different portrait that became increasingly bold as the weeks wore on: by May he was divorcing his wife, by mid-may he was dating Olivia Munn, and by August, they were having a child, despite Mulaney saying in a Netflix special that he didn't want kids less than two years before.

It's an announcement that's causing text chains to go atwitter (and Twitter to go atwitter), the conversation competing with chatter around that other celebrity baby that was announced this week. The fact that the John Mulaney news cycle can keep up with the Kardashian news cycle is something no one would have predicted, but, then again, no one could have predicted John Mulaney would have a baby with Olivia Munn, save perhaps an Us Weekly Mad Libs. And it's causing a severe case of celebrity whiplash for millennials who have spent a decade rooting for the comedian who seemed to love his wife so much, he wore her on a t-shirt on national TV.

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