Mulaney Accent

Mulaney shared behind-the-scenes stories about the start of his career, his time at Saturday Night Live and his stand-up specials during Thursday's event.

Eating crackers in bed always leads to crumbs by your feet, even if you think that you’re eating them carefully.

The best rental car is a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, while the worst rental is a Chevy Malibu. Oh, and you should leave tips for housekeeping at hotels.

That was part of the advice comedian John Mulaney gave to UF students and graduating seniors Thursday night.

In a free, hour-long virtual event funded by Accent Speaker’s Bureau, an SG agency, Mulaney spoke on Microsoft Teams to UF students about his experiences in comedy and gave students advice on how to write, be creative and receive feedback. He was paid $50,000 in student fees to speak.

The event began with a 45-minute interview between Ted Spiker, UF professor and chair of the department of journalism, and Mulaney. Spiker asked the comedian about his creative process, his best and worst gigs and his favorite performing venues. The event ended after a 15-minute student Q&A.

During the interview, Mulaney said it has been incredibly jarring and destabilizing to see how COVID-19 is affecting the world. He said he had a friend pass away because of COVID-19.

But he’s still writing comedy and working on upcoming projects, he said. Even more so now that he’s confined to his home because of the pandemic, he added.

Mulaney recalled his experiences as a writer for “Saturday Night Live,” as well as acting in his movie “John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch” on Netflix and his Broadway play, “Oh, Hello.”

He also gave students advice on writing, beating writer's block and accepting feedback.

Constructive criticism should get harsher over time, he said. In the beginning, there’s room for error. He likened it to the way a baby deer stumbles before learning to walk.

“Let them get older, and then you can critique how a deer walks,” he said.

Going to college helped Mulaney grow up, he said, because he had professors that spoke to him like an adult. Additionally, being around professors with similar interests can be validating for students, he said.

“College dumping you in with a lot of people you don't know is a very good thing right around the age where your skull is starting to harden,” he said.

During the student Q&A, Mulaney answered questions about his favorite books, recalled memories from his time on “Saturday Night Live,” and talked about lessons taught in “Big Mouth,” a show on Netflix that he voices a character in.

It is unclear how many students attended the event. Accent Chairperson Steven Wolf did not respond to The Alligator’s request for comment in time for publication.

Racheal Rodriguez, a 19-year-old UF health science sophomore, crowded around her computer with her four other family members to watch the event. She and her family watched Mulaney’s specials on Netflix together, so they wanted to watch this together too, she said.

After watching Mulaney on “Saturday Night Live” and “Big Mouth,” Rodriguez enjoyed seeing Mulaney interact with students.

As a fan of Mulaney since high school, 20-year-old UF industrial and systems engineering senior Emily Muscaro said it was awesome to see Mulaney speaking with Spiker one-on-one.

Muscaro saw Mulaney perform “Oh, Hello” live on Broadway and waited backstage to snag a picture with him, she said. She said she was disappointed when Mulaney canceled his appearance at UF in Spring 2018, but she was glad that he could speak virtually.

“I grew up watching SNL,” she said. “I just feel like his humor really resonated with my sense of humor.”

Contact Meghan at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @meggmclone.