John Mulaney Turned Down The Daily Show Hosting Gig After Jon Stewart Left: I Was Gun Shy

John Mulaney is back on top of the stand-up comedy world following the release of “Baby J,” his new Netflix special that digs into his recent addiction relapse and subsequent return to sobriety. The special has earned rave reviews for the honesty and vulnerability Mulaney displays, with many viewing it as a warning about the dangers of American celebrity culture.

Mulaney’s press tour to promote the special has seen him take a trip down memory lane, recalling his rise to prominence and some of the high profile opportunities that he missed out on over the years. Appearing on Doug Herzog and Jen Chaney’s “Basic” podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter), the comedian said that he was considered as a potential host of The Daily Show after Jon Stewart vacated the job in 2015. He explained that the offer came right after his ill-fated multi-camera sitcom “Mulaney” aired on Fox.

“It was shortly after the ‘SNL’ 40th anniversary,” Mulaney said. “I had a sitcom on Fox. They’d aired all 13 [episodes], but it was canceled. It didn’t do good numbers, but at least critics reviled it. So, it was a fun time.”

The comic said that the critical and commercial failure of “Mulaney” made him hesitant to pursue other projects outside of his stand-up career.

“I sensed they would be big shoes to fill,” he said. “I think I also was gun-shy from putting myself out there at that moment after the Fox run. And I sensed all eyes would be on whoever came after Mr. Stewart.”

Mulaney said that former Comedy Central president Kent Alterman had to move on to other candidates because of his reservations about the job. Trevor Noah was ultimately tapped to take over for Stewart and hosted the show for seven years before departing in 2022.

“It wasn’t the right thing at that moment, but I remember saying to Kent, ‘I wish it was five years from now.’ And he went, ‘Yeah, but it’s not,’” he said. “I mean, I just remember Kent had a great tone of, ‘I hear you. I’m here to hear out anything you have to say, but it’s now, and we’re asking you about it, and we can’t talk hypothetically for that long at this dinner, John.’”

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