Last Dec., many fans of comedian John Mulaney were heartbroken to learn that he had relapsed on drugs and alcohol after many years of sobriety and checked himself into a rehabilitation facility in an attempt to get sober. Many of his fans took to Twitter to express how devastated they were about their favorite comedian relapsing. Some even wrote that they should have known Mulaney was struggling after he gave a peculiar interview on a television show, as if there was something they could have done for a comedian who they only know from his stand-up shows and interviews.
This past spring, Mulaney fans rejoiced after he had checked out of rehab and was seemingly doing well, according to the tabloids. However, Mulaney fans soon felt their happiness fleeting after it was announced that Mulaney had filed for divorce from his wife of six years. Fans were even more devastated to hear about allegations claiming that Mulaney had been unfaithful to his wife, a woman whom he had expressed his love for in many of his stand-up bits.
If that wasn’t enough news for Mulaney fans, who always imagined him as this kind, old-soul comedian, to take, Mulaney publicly announced in an interview that since divorcing his wife and leaving rehab, he had begun dating actress Olivia Munn and that they are expecting a baby together. This surprised fans, as he had mentioned in several of his stand-up routines that he and his former wife didn’t want to have children.
Mulaney fans were once again devastated as they were in Dec. when he checked into rehab. While some were happy for him and Munn, several felt like the version of Mulaney that they had created in their head was not at all like the real-life John Mulaney, who is an actual human being with a multifaceted personality and that who can lead him to do things that might be wrong and unethical to some people.
This realization from fans that Mulaney is not some kind of perfect human being with no flaws has opened many conversations about parasocial relationships and why people should not be worship celebrities. While some people might feel they know what kind of person a celebrity is based on the interviews they give and the articles written about them, the truth is that most people don’t know what celebrities are like once the reporter leaves and the camera stops recording. Now, that’s not to say that celebrities are all horrible people behind closed doors. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the celebrity that appears on the television is the version they want people to think they are, not their true personality.
When a celebrity goes on screen to be interviewed, they aren’t going to talk about how they have been cheating on their wife or how they screamed at a waiter for messing up an order. They will only share the stories that make them seem like a good person or at least a person that has morals and hasn’t gotten wrapped up in the idea of being famous. They will talk about how much they love their wife or husband, tell a funny story or two related to the project they are working on that makes them seem relatable, and call it a day. They are treating the interview like it’s were a job interview and only mentioning the highlights.
This all to say, people should not worship celebrities. While it would be inaccurate to suggest that they are just like everyday, ordinary people, they are people nonetheless, incredibly complex and flawed creatures. In addition to not worshipping celebrities, people should also be aware (and this can be hard to hear) that even though they care greatly about the health and success of a celebrity, the celebrity has absolutely no idea who they are, nor does said celebrity care about them.
While some stars occasionally do nice things for fans, it should be noted that these acts of kindness are often caught on film and reported on, meaning everybody knows that this celebrity visited a sick kid in the hospital and sang a song to them. Once again, this isn’t to say that celebrities aren’t capable of displaying acts of kindness simply out of the goodness of their hearts, but it’s essential to be mindful of their intentions and motives. Ponder this: would the celebrity still be out there doing good deeds if all the cameras and reporters were put away? The truth is, and this may be hard to accept, but we don’t really know.