John Mulaney is answering questions about being asked by Comedy Central executives if he was interested in hosting “The Daily Show” when Jon Stewart bowed out in 2015.
During a recent appearance on Doug Herzog and Jen Chaney’s “Basic!” podcast, Herzog — who was president of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, which oversaw Comedy Central, until 2017 — asked Mulaney if he recalled the conversation he had with then-president of Comedy Central, Kent Alterman, about potentially taking over. “I think we were floating your interest in that and you were very lukewarm as I remember,” Herzog said.
Mulaney explained that he ultimately passed because, in part, his Fox sitcom “Mulaney” had just been canceled after only one season.
“It was shortly after the SNL 40th anniversary. I had a sitcom on Fox. They aired all 13 [episodes] but it was canceled. It didn’t do good numbers,” Mulaney said. “I remember going to dinner with Kent. I was extremely flattered that y’all were asking me about it. I sensed they would be big shoes to fill.”
Mulaney continued, “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… It wasn’t the right thing at the moment. I remember saying to Kent, ‘I wish it was five years from now.’ He went ‘Yeah, but it’s not.’ Kent had a great tone of, ‘I hear you. I’ll hear out anything you have to say, but it’s now and we’re asking you about it. We can’t talk hypothetically for that long at this dinner, John.’”
Trevor Noah, who succeeded Stewart, left “The Daily Show” earlier this year. A rotating group of guest hosts have been filling in on a weekly basis since Noah’s departure.
Mulaney is currently promoting his most recent Netflix special, “Baby J,” streaming now.