The Comeback Kid returns as Baby J – John Mulaney’s Netflix comedy special tackles tough topics


Netflix, IMDb

The promotional photo for Mulaney’s “Baby J” comedy special.

On April 25, 2023, comic John Mulaney returned to Netflix screens in his newest comedy special: “Baby J.” After years of struggling with drug addiction, Mulaney tackles his issues and public mishaps in this dark but necessary special, leaving his audience contemplating the effects of addiction and mass publicity.

Mulaney has made it no secret that he has struggled with substance abuse. In numerous comedy specials, he has discussed his addiction to substances that range from cigarettes to cocaine. He turned his struggle into comedy and left many viewers in tears of laughter with his specials including “Comeback Kid” and “Kid Gorgeous.” However, his addiction caught up to him and the attention of media outlets when it came out that he was attending rehab in December 2020. Months later, it was discovered that he and his wife at the time, artist and photographer Anna Marie Tendler, had gotten a divorce. Many were shocked, as Mulaney had gone into much detail about how he and Tendler have had a loving relationship in his prior specials. Mulaney then revealed after entering rehab that he and actress Olivia Munn were in a relationship and were expecting a child. This came as another shock to the public, as Mulaney had said that he did not plan on having kids in his lifetime, and rumors of an extramarital affair started circulating, but no sources have confirmed such a relationship. Needless to say, Mulaney has had a year of ups and downs, and his newest special reflects how he has navigated through it all. 

InBaby J,” Mulaney mainly discusses what his life was like before rehabilitation. He talks about his “star-studded” intervention, which included the likes of Nick Kroll, Seth Myers, Bill Hader, and many others, which had six in person and six others appearing on a Zoom call. He also goes into detail about what he did to acquire substances and what things were like on drugs. Through his multiple anecdotes about his addiction, he gives the audience a taste of what it was like for him to live through his struggles.

Even if you don’t know who John Mulaney is or haven’t seen any of his previous specials, “Baby J” is worth a watch. Learning more about and destigmatizing mental health and substance abuse is something that can be difficult, but Mulaney puts this discussion into the form of comedy. Through this, he’s able to make the topic palatable while also warning the audience about what can happen when you abuse different substances.