The actor and stand-up star talks about the magic that Steely Dan, why Elvis’ hits mean nothing to him, and also the one type of music everyone deserve to agree on.

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Listening Diary features artists of all kinds talking about the music they listen to in their day-to-day lives.

John Mulaney’s comedy thrives on too much specificity. Together a writer ~ above “Saturday Night Live,” that was one of the key minds behind Stefon’s brand-new York City nightclub hellscapes. (“Guess who might drop by—is that Ryan Seacrest? No, it’s a drown albino that looks prefer Axl Rose.”) His stand-up blends implicit pop cultural observations—like his Def Comedy Jam takedown of home Alone 2—with meditations ~ above the weirder details he encounters simply walking around: “Sometimes babies will allude at me, and I don’t treatment for that shit at all.” he’s a solid storyteller, an skilled joke writer, and, in ~ the moment, he is pretty busy.

Mulaney’s very an excellent 2015 one-of-a-kind The Comeback son is comes out as a bona fide stand-up album courtesy of drag City this week. He just spent a few months ~ above Broadway play the pains inappropriate upper West Side senior citizen George St. Geegland the opposite Nick Kroll’s Gil Faizon in Oh, Hello top top Broadway, which is now easily accessible to watch on Netflix. He’s likewise got a new stand-up one-of-a-kind in the works, based on his recurring Kid Gorgeous tour. And if you haven’t watched his and Kroll’s opened monologue native this year’s soul Awards, do that.

Mulaney functions a lot. In the spare of all that work, the listens to music. Here are a couple of of the song he’s placed on in the months because a details presidential election.

Tuesday, November 12, 11 a.m.

Pavement: “Secret expertise of Backroads

Last fall, if commuting from my apartment in the West village to the Lyceum Theatre, whereby we walk the Oh, Hello show, I began to get very particular about what I would certainly listen to. They just had actually a presidential election, which i think should have actually gone the various other way. For this reason it was like, “We’re top top Broadway, yet I’m for this reason depressed.” It to be a an extremely weird time. All of my most-played songs during that month reflect that—it to be really like I was placing on a personality when I to be listening come them.

Pavement’s “Secret understanding of Backroads” was around as sad together I can get—I would play that when I was sad to become even more sad. Through that song, ns thought, I’ll simply start sobbing on the F train. I m sorry is fine, through the way. I could feel that in my face, structure up for 4 days, ready to go, like levees were holding back all this crazy, sad, guy tears. After ~ the election, that felt favor being underwater. The felt prefer a breakup. It felt favor finding out someone cheated on you. The felt choose you to be fired. It to be like whatever at once, like, “Oh, I believed we were all on the floor, but there is no floor and we’re free-falling.”


Monday, February 27, 4 p.m. And also 12 a.m.

Steely Dan: “Midnight Cruiser

Nick Kroll and also I were driving to and also from a Santa Monica editing facility, whereby we were functioning on the Oh, Hello film. Both of us love Steely Dan, and it was just the right band for George and Gil. There’s a made-up Steely Dan track in the present called “Sweet Rosalie,” i m sorry is a very great homage, i think: “Sweet Rosalie/She’s working at the five and dime/Train ago to Hackensack through rosemary wine/Yo deedle doidle dee/Cocaine/We both like to perform cocaine.” that pretty much sums increase a many Steely Dan’s lyrics.

Before my senior year the college, a friend bought your album Pretzel Logic, and we began to placed it on in ~ parties the we would throw—not to finish the party, but to hone them down to civilization that we wanted to hang the end with. Climate we acquired into Aja around Thanksgiving, and from over there it was just the year the pure Steely Dan. I assumed Aja was about my life at the time, come a paranoid degree. “Up top top the Hill”—I went to Georgetown, i m sorry is top top a hilltop. “People never ever stare, they just don’t care”—that was about how everyone was phony, other than me. Ns mean, every solitary song was about me and how ns was sad, but also confident. I believed Donald Fagen had actually a straight line into my brain. I acquired a meeting through MTV as soon as I was 23, and they said, “So what music space you into?” I stated Steely Dan, and also the conference went downhill best after that.

We had the enormous, enormous pleasure of meeting Donald Fagen in ~ Oh, Hello. The was the thrill of a lifetime. He stated he assumed it to be funny.

Tuesday, in march 21, every day

Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers: “Does your Mama Know about Me

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas: “S.O.S. (Girl in Distress)

I played these on repeat throughout most of that day. These are most likely my favourite songs of the year—even though they came out 40 years ago, ns guess. Ns was having a conversation v someone about how negative everything is in the country, and also how civilization are so upset every one of the time, and I to be like, “Is over there anything that everyone have the right to agree on?” Then i was like, “Motown—everyone likes Motown.” They can not ever before request it, but if you put it on, friend rarely acquire anyone wanting to rotate it off.

Good, deep-cut Motown, though. If you play “Stop! In the name of Love” again, it’s prefer background noise—it’s like having “The Tyra financial institutions Show” playing when you"re wait in the pet hospital lobby. The thing around Motown to be these were in reality teenagers. They to be so young, and singing at the peak of their game. Yes sir no faking young—the talent and optimism and also motion. When human being are like, “You’re a young comic,” ns like, “I’m 35 and I have actually sciatica, I’m no young.”


Tuesday, may 2, 6 p.m.

Elvis Presley: “Good Time Charlie’s got the Blues

John Barry: “Midnight Cowboy

I had actually my phone plugged in with an assistant cable to mine Toyota RAV4. “Good Time Charlie’s gained the Blues” come on, and that reminded me of Midnight Cowboy. Then ns was like, “Oh, I desire to hear ‘Midnight Cowboy.’” So ns pulled end to obtain gas and created a two-song playlist of man Barry’s theme from Midnight Cowboy and also “Good Time Charlie"s acquired the Blues,” sung by Elvis Presley. I was walking to execute a Q&A at USC v students, and I to be trying to patience down and also bring myself to a sad, old-man, whimsical location filled with regret therefore I could give kind answers. To me, that intended listening to the music of the catastrophic story of a masculine hustler and his friend, Dustin Hoffman.

With Elvis, the hits have actually never expected anything to me, the kind of rocking and rolling, “You gotta perform rock and also roll!” That kind of shit sounds favor nothing come me now. It’s amazing that that was ever before controversial. The sadder Elvis appeals to me more. In numerous ways, we’re every Elvis: us all love Ritalin and also downers, we’re every living in a shag green carpet mansion, and we all have 12 friend that will do whatever we say.

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Wednesday, may 10, 1 p.m.

Richard Strauss: Schlagobers Ballet, Op. 70

I was in Portland, Maine doing shows, and I was listening to the in the hotel. I don’t generally blast German ballets—I’m no a serial killer—but i did at the moment. There’s this new ballet dubbed Whipped Cream, and I’m walk to view it through my wife, so i was listening come it and liked it. I had actually never heard anything by Strauss, which is violation to him, because I think he to be a pretty large deal.

My new thing, which no one in my life likes, is play my iphone in my shirt pocket—sticking out, just playing it v no headphones. I began doing this once I was acquiring my dog’s breakfast and dinner ready since I couldn’t attach to a Bluetooth thing we have—I don’t want to shit on any kind of products, yet it’s a Bose. Anyway, i started just playing it right off the phone because the sound is nice good, and also I chosen not having actually earbuds in because it was much less disorienting. Now I walk around like an elderly guy would, just playing Motown off of a tinny phone.