A Wall Street Banker Turned to Comedy for Happiness and a Career Change
He’s one of the best selling comedians of all time, but John Mulaney just doesn’t know his own name.
It’s one of the most unlikely celebrity careers in the world, one that began as a Wall Street stockbroker, blossomed as a standup comic and grew into one of the most beloved comedians of the last decade — and one that may end up as tragic as Mulaney’s career choices.
It all began a decade ago, when John Mulaney was working in an investment firm with his late father, Mike, a former Goldman Sachs investment advisor turned television actor best known for his role on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which ran from 1975 to 2009.
Mike Mulaney had quit that high-profile job after being recruited by a rival company — and John had come along for the ride.
“In the last 18 years of my dad’s life, he was a working man,” he told Business Insider in an interview this week. “He’d been a working man for many, many years. But when he had the job with Goldman Sachs, he said, ‘I’ve got to have it. I don’t want to have nothing on my credit card.'”
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Still, his father had no choice but to stick around, and John’s career as a standup comedian began in 2000 with a stint on the short-lived sketch comedy program “The State” on Comedy Central. It was a bit that Mike Mulaney had always wanted his son to do, but it didn’t happen.
“I was working at a law firm with Steve Martin’s ‘Politically Incorrect’ on the side — and his TV show had been canceled,” Mulaney said. “I got a call at around 4 in the morning: I’d gotten an audition for ‘SNL.’ And here I was, trying to figure out how to get to the airport in New York City.”
John’s father wanted him for a guest spot — it was just a simple, one-man play-by-play of an upcoming interview — but with his mother still recovering from a serious cancer diagnosis and his sister and brother living nearby in Massachusetts, John had to turn it down.
“It’s not that I’m the type of person who would turn down an opportunity,” he said. “But I thought, how