I can’t say I often find myself fully invested in celebrity gossip, and I certainly can’t say I enjoy it, but for whatever reason the tragicomic exploits of John Mulaney over the past three or so years have completely gripped my consciousness to an inappropriate extent. Perhaps it was a pandemic environment that minimized my exposure to the high school drama that had previously satiated my need for gossip, or perhaps it was the fact that I really liked John Mulaney, found him funny, and (owing to his role as a stand-up comedian) felt more personal affinity for him than I did any actor or director mired in similar controversy. For those who haven’t been following, Mulaney checked himself into rehab right in the middle of the pandemic, announced he was leaving his wife (relevant because of his comedic persona as a self-styled “wife guy”) and got into a relationship with Olivia Munn with whom he now has a son. Only the first detail is relevant to his latest special, “Baby J,” which was released on Netflix last week, but all of them feel kind of important for a comedian whose decade of earned goodwill had been completely recontextualized before he set foot on the Boston stage where the special was performed.
“Baby J” is a special of the moment, more specifically John Mulaney’s moment. In it, he meticulously and non-sequentially details his trials of addiction, his experience with rehab and his more recent recovery process.