Which U.S. President Went to College With John Mulaney’s Parents?

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John Mulaney‘s hilarious standup, The Comeback Kid, details a true story about how his parents attended the same college as one U.S. President. And how he had a very special encounter. In fact, the title of Mulaney’s 2015 show, The Comeback Kid actually honored this two-term president and not a “comeback” by Mulaney, Time reports.

After delivering a gut-busting set Mulaney continued doing what he does best–storytelling. He set the scene back in 1992 when his delighted mother received an alumni fundraiser invitation to meet with a presidential candidate in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Mulaney reports that his mother exuded a girlish giddiness because both of Mulaney’s parents and the presidential hopeful attended Yale Law School at the same time.

His father scoffed at the notion of going, so a 10-year-old Mulaney was his mother’s date. What happened and which (future) president did he ultimately meet?

The setting could not have been more perfect

Mulaney spends considerable time describing the ballroom where the fundraiser was held. In fact, it was the same ballroom where the action film, The Fugitive was filmed. Mulaney describes the Grand Ballroom, the Palmer House Hilton, perfectly, weaving the scene through his 10-year old eyes, comparing it to the explosive interlude in The Fugitive.

And at the Grand Ballroom in Chicago, Mulaney met then-governor, Bill Clinton. He referred to Clinton as a “Smooth and fantastic hillbilly. Who should be declared Emporer of the United States of America.” He details what went down in the glittery ballroom with hilarious acumen.

In his standup, Mulaney jokes about why it was fun and funny to meet Clinton. “This was cool for a couple of reasons,” he muses. “One I got to meet Bill Clinton. But two, I got to watch my parents watch someone they went to school with become the president. And that is super funny to see. Because think about some of the people you went to school with. Now image they’re becoming the president.”

Mulaney’s mother was all about Bill Clinton


Since Mulaney’s parents attended Yale Law with Clinton they had some interaction with him while classmates. Mulaney says, “My mom loooved Bill Clinton. Because Bill Clinton was always a really charismatic guy.” He harkens back to how suave Clinton must have been in his college days in comparison to a more corpulent person while president.

He says when his parents were in school, the college had a policy where, late at night, male students were encouraged to walk female students back to their dorm. So when his mom, “little Ellen Stanton” needed an escort home from the library, there was Bill Clinton asking if he could “walk her home.” Mulaney recounts his mother’s excitement, saying she considered asking him up for a beer to which a young Mulaney replied, “Thanks, I’m nine.”

His dad…not so much

“My dad, on the other hand, hated Bill Clinton,” Mulaney smirks. “Because my parents were dating at this time.” He adds that his dad is a more “morally upright” person. Mulaney recalls how annoyed his father was that Bill Clinton could “get away with anything.” To which Mulaney continues, “Can you imagine how he felt later?”

So when the fundraiser invite arrived by mail, Mulaney’s mom was over the moon. But his dad refused to attend, adding that it wasn’t like Clinton would remember her. Yikes!

And Mulaney meets Clinton


So, Mulaney was his mother’s date. And Mulaney was ready, dressed in his First Communion suit. He describes the scene as so crowded it was tough to get to “the comeback kid.”

So Mulaney’s mom uses her son to push through the crowd to get to Clinton. Mulaney says he was wearing a button that read, “Bird-brained.” And Clinton remarked he liked it. His mother swooned because Clinton does indeed remember her. And the evening was a success.

How does the story end?


Mulaney pledges his allegiance to the Democratic party after the fundraiser. To which his dad replies, “You have the moral backbone of a chocolate eclair.”  Years later, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Mulaney’s father seems delighted about the news. He tosses the morning paper on his son and says, “The other shoe has dropped.”

And then goes into work to find out that his law firm had been hired to defend Bill Clinton, Mulaney concludes.

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