As a dad who will turn 39 this coming summer, I, sadly, agree with John Mulaney’s assessment of dad friendships. Dads just don’t have friends. Now, to be clear, I’m crying through my tears here, and I know that mostly Mulaney was taking about boomer dads, who are, basically our dads, but I also think he’s talking about me.
This past weekend, as the host of Saturday Night Live, Mulaney crushed the opening monologue with what was, essentially, a fantastic stand-up routine full of all-too-relatable dad humor. I gotta admit because Mulaney is not a parent, but he does a lot of humor that is adjacent to parenting, I’ve always been a little suspicious of him. Like, he gets it. I know. But does he get it get it? Well, with his latest SNL bit, yes, I think he does.
“My dad has no friends. And your dad has no friends. And if you think your dad has friends, you’re wrong. Your mom has friends, and they have husbands. Those are not your dad’s friends.”
Again, even though Mulaney is talking about, from his point of view, grandparents, this sentiment soooo applies to non-boomer dads, too! The struggle for men to maintain positive male friendships after becoming a parent is very real. Which is why the next part of Mulaney’s joke is so great. He knows, as a guy in his 30s’, that it’s tricky to keep a whole bunch of dudes as best friends. Which, it turns out, is the most magical thing about Jesus.
“It’s hard to make friends when you’re an adult male. I think that’s the real miracle of Jesus. He was a 33-year-old man and he had 12 best friends. And they were not his wife’s friends’ husbands. And he didn’t meet them along time ago in school. He met them in his 30s!”
The smartest best part of Mulaney’s theory about why dads don’t have friends is also the most gut-wrenchingly painful: “Dads want to be alone.”
Yep! After a day of juggling dance class schedule, with a never-ending shopping list, and somehow cramming in the civic duty of voting, yes — dads want to be alone.
I really hope Mulaney becomes a parent someday. Mostly so I can buy him a coffee or something and never speak to him. If John Mulaney ever experiences the utter life-sapping vampires that we call children, he’ll be tired, too. But he’ll still be funny as hell. I can’t wait to sit around and just nod with him someday. It’s my fantasy. But I think we’d both love it.
Here are some more highlights from Mulaney’s latest SNL stint.