If given a second chance at his failed Fox comedy, John Mulaney wouldn’t touch a thing.
“If I had to go back, I would have made the show I made because I wanted to make that show,” Mulaney told Vulture in a new interview. “I wanted to get it out of my system. It wasn’t like if I could go back in time I’d do a single-cam.”
Expectations were high for Mulaney — a “Saturday Night Live” writer and comedian, whose style had been compared to Jerry Seinfeld. His show first landed at NBC, but the network ultimately passed. Fox then picked it up and further developed it. The multi-camera show, titled “Mulaney,” also starred Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad, and Elliott Gould.
It premiered to lacklustre ratings that only got worse as the season continued. In the end, Fox cut its episode order from 16 to 13 episodes.
And although Mulaney felt he made the show he wanted to make, he isn’t angry at the audience for not liking it.
“In retrospect, obviously, it wasn’t fun to get bad reviews, but I don’t have any feeling that it’s an injustice,” he said. “I have a real respect for when the audience goes, ‘Nope.’ I really do. There is something very democratic and cool about it. We worked so hard on it. I put my name on it. It was my first big thing, and boy, oh boy, do I wish this will work, but who cares? You put it out, and it works or it doesn’t.”
That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt when Fox canceled the show. That’s when things got real.
“As poorly as it was being received, we were still making the show,” he said. “That engine of producing it was helping me get through some of that. Then it was suddenly like, ‘By the way, that’s over, too.’ It was difficult.”
Mulaney is now a writer on the IFC comedy “Documentary Now!” with Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, which parodies documentaries. His standup special, “John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid,” premieres on November 13 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.
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