John Mulaney SNL Monologue Backlash Defined

“I forgot to make a good joke.”

John Mulaney on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Did you watch John Ugay Hosts the 2020 Halloween episode of Saturday night livewhat happened to be days before the toughest presidential election in modern history? If you haven’t, here we have the roundup, and you’ve missed a touch of controversy from one of our nation’s most adorable comedians. His opening monologue missed the mark for many – and as he explained in an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, that includes Mulaney himself.


The opening monologue contained a politically-minded, mildly nihilistic joke in which Mulaney said that “no matter who wins the election,” certain things in life will continue to be the same, including economic depression, drug addiction, Jane Lynch Booking every concert and children who stay early because their stomach hurts. Obviously towards the end the joke takes a turn for the stupid and relatable, but the opening moments seemed to argue that the vote doesn’t matter as the outcome will stay the same – a difficult position to join given the huge differences between the two candidates can (can you say that i’m overly diplomatic?). There was a backlash with many people online berating Mulaney for discouraging turnout when it mattered.

Mulaney spoke very frankly, telling me nervously nervously about making his joke and his blatant flaw:

“In setup, I said, ‘No matter who wins,’ which I really didn’t even agree with. I often say things on TV in front of 10 million people that I just float as ideas. I should have done it.” said: “I really want one to win over the other and there will be improvements if one wins.” And I deserved the backlash. I definitely forgot. I made the joke in a Connecticut field and said, ‘Okay, let’s rock and roll,’ and I never said, ‘Hey, don’t you mean one is worse than the other?’ And I forgot that one To make a joke well. So in the beginning was a strange thing, to throw in front of a lot of people three days before an election, “Look, it doesn’t matter who wins because and now I am.” I get to the Jane Lynch joke. «My wife, everyone who knows me, said,“ What the hell did you just say? ”And I said,“ What, not good? Not good? “There is no excuse for not working out the wording of a joke you make on TV.”

John Mulaney moderates Saturday Night Live (SNL)

Image via NBC

Check out the full clip from Mulaney explaining his process to Kimmel below, along with some other fascinating stories from one of our top contemporary comedic minds.


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Gregory Lawrence
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Gregory Lawrence (aka Greg Smith) is a writer, director, performer, songwriter, and comedian. He is an Associate Editor for Collider and has written for Shudder, CBS, Paste Magazine, Guff, Smosh, Obsev Studios, and others. He loves pizza and the Mortal Kombat movie. More information is available at

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