John Mulaney’s Everybody’s in LA Set Was Based on Johnny Carson’s Malibu Home

Although Johnny Carson set the template for the modern late-night talk show, his influence on John Mulaney’s Everybody’s in LA is appropriately left of center.

No, Mulaney didn’t spend hours studying the King of Late Night’s interview style or monologue cadence before starting his own show. Instead, when it came time to design his set, Mulaney took inspiration from Carson’s Malibu home.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Mulaney explained how he arrived at the show’s unusual set design.

“I wasn’t going for an off-putting aesthetic or anything,” he revealed. “The set was actually modeled after Johnny Carson’s house in Malibu. A lot of brutalist gold things, plus grapes. Glass grapes are wonderful.”

If that sounds like the antithesis of modern talk show decor, it’s by design.

“I knew I didn’t want a shiny black floor,” Mulaney explained. “I knew I didn’t want anything chrome. I didn’t want anything to look like late night or reality shows as they do now.”

Sure enough, a look at photos from when Carson’s former Malibu home went up for sale in 2017 reveals a home with a similar look to the set that Mulaney described on his Netflix show as “the kind of house where you’d spend a half-hour trying to connect the Sonos.”

As we’ve previously reported, Mulaney had similarly strong feelings about the show’s furniture, which was designed to his specifications, and contributed to Everybody in LA’s laid-back look and feel. 

If this all seems like an awful lot of thought and effort to put into the production design of a six-episode talk show, it’s worth noting that the show’s set pieces have been preserved and could be re-deployed if Mulaney and Netflix see fit to launch another edition of his show. (Mulaney himself continues to indicate that he’d be open to returning.)

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