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John Mulaney Gets Honest About ‘Idea People Have’ Related To Comedians And Depression And How It Always Gets Thrown Around With Robin Williams

John Mulaney on Saturday Night Live and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting
(Image credit: NBC/Miramax)

In the world of comedy, it seems like laughs are often attached to drama. The dynamic tends to come up whenever a comedian dies. Oftentimes, depression is linked with tragic deaths in the medium, most notably with the late actor Robin Williams. It seemed the correlation didn’t sit well with comedian John Mulaney. The Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers actor got honest about the idea people have related to comedians and depression, and Williams’ name getting thrown around.

Robin Williams’ passing in 2014 shocked his devoted fans. His cause of death was tied to suicide related to depression. But his death was just one of many deaths in comedy involving mental health. Mulaney was tired of the public belief surrounding Williams and other late comics. The comedian spoke about the late Mrs. Doubtfire actor while honoring him on the Netflix special The Hall: Honoring the Greats of Stand-Up.

There’s an idea that I hear a lot where people like to theorize that comedy all comes from a place of pain and sadness. And people like to talk about comedians as if we do what we do because of some inner darkness. And this is especially thrown around when discussing Robin Williams. And with all due respect, fuck off with that shit. Have a little respect for a brilliant artist who was just more talented than you. That’s what was happening.

That’s one way to tell fans and haters to stop speaking on the dead if you don’t know what happened. The act of performing isn’t always about drawing from one’s pain or tragedy. As Mulaney stated, the late actor was “just more talented” than the rest of us. While the Big Mouth star fought against this theory, Mulaney jokingly admitted many stand-up comics (including himself) deal with trauma and mental health conditions.

Making people laugh is incredibly fun. The artform of comedy is a joy to perform, and being a comedian is not a psychiatric condition. Are many of us also fucked up, myself included? Yes, but whatever. You know, there are depressed people who don’t even have the decency to be great comedians. Why don’t you pick on them for a change?

There’s nothing like making viewers laugh for a living. He did cop up to a few comics coming from messed-up backgrounds. Of course, Mulaney has dealt with his battles as seen with his touching and fun SNL monologue after becoming a father. But sometimes, that makes for the best comedy. The comedian got the chance to jokingly call those who might be great comedians in the making.

Despite the sadness surrounding his passing, Williams’ legacy has continued to live on years after his unexpected death. Fans still have iconic performances and stories from the likes of Hollywood writer Dan Hernandez and Good Will Hunting co-star Ben Affleck to continue the late Mork and Mindy actor’s memory.

Of course, The Hall: honoring the Greats of Stand-Up is just one of multiple Netflix comedy specials premiering this Summer. If you want to find out the premiere dates for these specials, you can check out our 2022 Netflix TV schedule.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).