The Odd Reason the Internet Can’t Stop Objectifying ‘SNL’ Alum John Mulaney

John Mulaney’s comedy specials read like an evolution of his professional life. New in Town was his first. The Comeback Kid aired after his 2014 sitcom Mulaney was a flop. And Kid Gorgeous, well, more on that in a moment.

Those unfamiliar with his stand-up might have seen one of the many sketches he wrote while working for Saturday Night Live from 2008 to 2012, but his successes haven’t stopped there.

John Mulaney performs on stage
John Mulaney | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest

John Mulaney breaks through on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Mulaney was hired for SNL back when Seth Meyers was head writer. In fact, Meyers himself made the phone call offering Mulaney the job.

“[Meyers] said, ‘We want to hire you as a writer,'” Mulaney told NPR. “And I was speechless, and he said, ‘I just want to make sure I’m clear that this would just be writing. You would not be in the cast.’ And I said, ‘Oh no, of course I would not be in the cast!'”

Among Mulaney’s most well-loved bits was his writing for Bill Hader’s Weekend Update guest character, Stefon. Part of the bit’s charm was watching Hader struggle not to break (start laughing) — a task made all the more difficult because Mulaney often switched up Hader’s lines between the dress rehearsal and live show.

Mulaney came back to host SNL in 2018 and then again in 2019. In 2018, he even went on Weekend Update alongside Hader as Stefon’s lawyer. This time, he made Hader break from on stage.

John Mulaney goes from ‘Kid Gorgeous’ to Man Gorgeous

Mulaney is known for appearing in his comedy specials in a full suit and tie and telling self-deprecating tales of embarrassment not only from his childhood but his adulthood as well.

He’s often made fun of by others, as well as himself, for looking like he doesn’t age — a fact hilariously played on in an SNL digital short. In the short, he claims to have auditioned for SNL 44 times, a confession that is followed by phony audition clips of him dating back to the 1980s.

It may be for this reason that a recent Instagram post of him and fellow SNL alum Andy Samberg has sent fans into a tizzy. In the photo, he’s in jeans and a T-shirt with rolled-up sleeves and is sporting a healthy 5 o’clock shadow. In stark contrast to his usual boyish look, it’s a decidedly manly vibe that led comedian Jeff Garlin to comment in response: “James Dean.” Several fans replied in agreement.

Fan comments ranged from “john… u know what you’re doing” to “i am respectfully looking.” Some accused him of setting a “thirst trap,” while one fan summed up the transformation by writing: “You have become Classically Hot.”

Is John Mulaney trying to change his image to gain future projects?

Mulaney isn’t resting on his stand-up and SNL successes. He seems to be constantly on the move, working on new writing and performing projects. He voiced Peter Porker/Spider-Ham in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. And in December 2019, he released a Netflix specialJohn Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch: A Children’s Musical Comedy Special from a Man with Neither Children Nor Musical Ability.

It has also been announced that he will be playing one of the mice that is turned into a footman in a live-action musical comedy version of Cinderella, which is slated for release sometime in 2021.

Though the photo may just be a fluke, it also may signify that he’s working to show a broader image of himself for future projects. Whatever the reason, Mulaney fans may be looking back on that photo for some time to come now.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify events from Mulaney’s career.