Quick Q&A With John Mulaney

The former <em>Saturday Night Live</em> writer and Broadway performer visits the Murat Theatre on January 14 to tell a few jokes. We chatted with him before the show.
How often do you make it to Indianapolis?
When I started doing stand-up, I played the Broad Ripple Crackers a lot. I love that place. The last time I was in a big theater there, though, was two years ago.

How early do you get to a town before you take the stage?
I find it weird to perform in a city if I haven’t walked around at all. So I like to get there in the morning, have lunch somewhere, and take in at least one sight. I’ve learned to not to overload my schedule because you have to be your most awake at 8 p.m.

Why is your new tour called “Kid Gorgeous”?
I was trying to think of a title, so I made a list and sent the ideas to my wife. For whatever reason, that was the one that made her laugh the hardest.

What were some of the other contenders?
A few of them were based on Steely Dan lyrics. “Kid Charlemagne,” for example. “Gentleman Loser” was one. “Baby Boy,” because I thought that was equally annoying. “The Act Natural Tour.” “The Fancy Tour.” “John Mulaney’s Chinese Medicine Tour.” At that time, I was getting involved with a lot of Chinese medicine for my dog, but I have no joke about it and it means nothing.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Right before I go out, I typically get very concerned that I haven’t had enough salt. It probably has no basis in reality, but somebody once told me I have low sodium and needed to make sure I get plenty of salt. So I try to eat something salty before a show. I was also told I need to replenish my electrolytes frequently. I don’t remember who told me this. But 10 minutes before a show, I’m desperate for coconut water.

You were in a children’s improv group as a kid. What kind of sketches were you performing?
A lot of stolen ones. I remember doing Dana Carvey’s George Bush impression. Adults, obviously, were like, “Oh, that’s adorable.” No one was like, “You know, that’s someone else’s work.” We also did a sketch in which we translated some foreign movie. The jokes normally involved how long the person spoke in the foreign language and then how short the translation was.

I’ve read that you had an opportunity to audition for the lead role in Home Alone but that it never materialized. What happened?
There was a casting director at one of those improv shows who asked if I wanted to audition for a new John Hughes movie. I didn’t know who that was. Supposedly, the story was about a boy who wished his family would disappear and then he wakes up in a foreign land. That was wrong, obviously, but maybe the script was secret. Sometimes people veil what a project is about. Anyway, my mom told me while I was at the doctor getting a booster shot that I couldn’t audition because she didn’t want me to be a child actor. Home Alone came out a year later, and I said, “I really want to see that movie. It looks great.” My mom said, “Oh yeah, that’s the movie we didn’t let you audition for.”