Updated on February 6, 2024
5 min read

John Mulaney’s Rehab Journey

John Mulaney is a comedian and former host of Saturday Night Live. He’s famous for his observational humor and quick wit.

Despite his success, Mulaney has faced personal challenges with addiction, leading him to seek treatment in rehab. In 2014, Mulaney disclosed that he had successfully maintained sobriety for nine years.

However, in December 2020, he made a public announcement that he relapsed and voluntarily admitted himself into a rehabilitation facility. This revelation came as a surprise to numerous fans who were previously unaware of Mulaney's struggles.

Why Did John Mulaney Enter Rehab?

John Mulaney entered a 60-day rehab program in December 2020 to focus on his sobriety after struggling with cocaine addiction and alcoholism. In an interview, Mulaney opened up about how he kept up appearances in the public eye while secretly dealing with his addiction behind closed doors.1

He started drinking at 13 years old before he began experimenting with cocaine, mushrooms, and prescription drugs to cope with stress and expectations. Mulaney said binge drinking and illegal drug use became part of his lifestyle.

He began his recovery in 2005 and managed to maintain it for 15 years. However, an ugly relapse eventually came during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

How Did John Mulaney’s Intervention Unfold?

Mulaney recalled meeting with his dealer to collect a pocketful of Xanax and Coke before arriving home to a surprise intervention. His parents, wife, and some close friends gathered in a room to confront him about his behavior.

He remembered opening the door to a large group of people and thinking he knew immediately what was happening. Mulaney initially denied the need for help. He tried to reason with them and convince everybody he was sober but agreed to seek treatment in a rehabilitation facility days later.

Netflix Special John Mulaney: Baby J. 

In the new Netflix special, Mulaney mentions big comedian names who've sat in his “star-studded” intervention, such as Natasha Lyonne, Nick Kroll, Bill Hader, and Fred Armisen.

"I was going psychotic. I am sitting there in an awful chair, crashing from cocaine. No one will let me go to the bathroom to freshen up, and the funniest people in the world are staring at me, refusing to do jokes.”

John recalled feeling "very angry" and "powerless." He also wanted to escape but was glad that the intervention saved his life.

John Mulaney on His Addiction and Recovery

John Mulaney has been open about his struggles with addiction and recovery, often weaving them into his stand-up comedy routine. In his 2012 special, New in Town, he shared he used to binge drink and blackout often.

John would also get so high, yet would be very careful not to show any indication of his drug addiction. Thankfully, rehab saved his life despite not wanting to go at first.

I didn't want an intervention... At that moment in time, I wanted to continue using drugs. Sitting here tonight, I'm so grateful to you and to everyone there for saving my life, OK? That night, I was not grateful,

John Mulaney said during his interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers

How Has Recovery Influenced Mulaney’s Work and Personal Life?

John's stint in rehab has had a profound impact on his work and personal life. He shared that he became more introspective and happier, and his work reflected that.

“I have, for some reason, set up various obstacles in my own way that have left me sometimes … pretty disoriented and pretty unhappy. But I am, at my core, a happy person. And it’s OK for me to protect that by living the life I want to live. … I don’t want to be the reason [my life] gets complicated.”

John also credits his new relationship with actress Olivia Munn for her unwavering support after his recovery. The couple started dating in May 2021 and welcomed their new baby in November of the same year.


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The Importance of Discussing Recovery

Similar to the experiences of comedians like Pete Davidson, John Mulaney's story is just one of the many tales of addiction and recovery⁠—not just in Hollywood, but in the country. Over 61 million Americans in 2021 reported using illegal substances within the past year. That's 21.9% of people aged 12 and above.2

Despite the prevalence of substance addiction, there’s still a stigma surrounding the condition and its recovery process. This makes it difficult for people to seek help or share their experiences openly, leaving them ashamed or alone in their struggles.

Why Is Mulaney’s Openness About Rehab Significant?

​​John Mulaney's openness about his addiction and recovery is significant because it raises awareness of the ongoing struggle many go through in their journey to sobriety. It also helps normalize seeking help and treatment for substance abuse issues.

Mulaney's honesty humanizes him as a celebrity and encourages others to speak up about their struggles without fear or shame. In doing so, he's using his platform to bring light and understanding to a topic many still view as taboo.

What Can Others Learn From John Mulaney’s Recovery Story?

John Mulaney's recovery story teaches that addiction is a difficult journey that requires support and willingness to seek help. It also shows the importance of open communication and seeking treatment, even when it may seem overwhelming or uncomfortable.

Moreover, Mulaney's experience shows the power of sharing one's struggles. By breaking the silence surrounding addiction and recovery, you can support and inspire others who may be going through similar challenges.

As Mulaney says, "I used to care what everyone thought about me so much. It was all I cared about. And I don't anymore. Because I can honestly say, 'What is someone gonna do to me that's worse than what I would do to myself?"

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Rehab Together


John Mulaney's addiction and recovery story is one of relapse, intervention, rehabilitation, and hope. Through his openness and honesty, he has opened up an important conversation about substance abuse and the need for support in seeking help.

His journey also teaches the power of sharing struggles to break down stigma. It provides hope for those facing similar challenges.

Ultimately, John's recovery serves as a reminder that no matter how difficult the journey may be, there is always hope for a better, sober life. Call a helpline for support and start your journey to recovery today.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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