How does Oh, Hello’s George St. Geegland a.k.a. John Mulaney get his head right before a big Broadway show? Meditation, of course.
During an appearance on Dan Harris’ podcast 10% Happier, Mulaney opened up about his attempts to control his anger and become more mindful. It was during his time working on the short-lived sitcom Mulaney that the comic found himself becoming more outwardly angry and stressed.
“I was having anger for the first time out loud while working on the TV show,” Mulaney said” I lost my temper. Not on the set, but on the phone. It felt weird, like it felt out-of-body and it felt uncontrollable.”
It was during a break in production of the show that Mulaney decided to pick up Harris’ book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story. It was that book that incited Mulaney to try and better himself, and he turned to meditation for help. It wasn’t easy at first — Mulaney found himself wanting to give up the practice before he even really got into it — but he gradually started to notice positive, subtle changes in the way that he reacted to stressful situations.
Mulaney recalled receiving an email regarding edits required for the show, something that would normally set him off. Thanks to his sustained meditation, however, he “was able to kind of process it and was also able to separate the good experience of shooting the episode from the difficult experience of what was going to get edited down in the episode … and [he] just remembered thinking, ‘That does not change the fact that you had a good time making it.’”
The comic fell out of the practice a few times, but always finds himself coming back to it. Nowadays, he makes a point to meditate for 20 minutes each day, whether it be at home, before a stand-up show, or before taking the stage for Oh, Hello at the Lyceum Theatre. Performances for that show are going on multiple times a week now through January 22nd. Tickets can be bought here.
The whole interview is a fascinating look at Mulaney’s career and persona; you really come out of it feeling like you know the guy much better. If you’d like to watch the interview, you can check it out below: