How John Mulaney Got Jake Gyllenhaal for 'Sack Lunch Bunch' (Video)

From wanting “Harry Belafonte in 1961” to the “Donnie Darko” actor in one surprising leap

Jake Gyllenhaal was sold on making a cameo appearance in John Mulaney’s Netflix comedy special from the minute he read the script, and the comedian’s openness to giving him free rein on the wacky character sealed the deal.

The comedian told the story of how he cast the “Donnie Darko” star in the role of the kooky, xylophone-suit-wearing Mr. Music in “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch” during an appearance on “The Tonight Show ” Thursday.

“Someone sent him the script of this character called Mr. Music, and Mr. Music is trying to teach the kids that you can make music anywhere, but everything he tries, he can’t make a sound,” Mulaney told host Jimmy Fallon, who was uncontrollably giggly, as usual.

The song was written with a Calypso seat, so when Netflix asked who Mulaney wanted to play the character, his immediate response was, “Ideally, Harry Belafonte in 1961.”

“And they were like, ‘Please, work with us,” Mulaney joked. “And we all look at each other and go, ‘Jake Gyllenhaal would be the best Mr. Music.’”

Mulaney said he knew Gyllenhaal was the one because of the way he sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the movie musical “Dreamgirls” during his opening monologue when he hosted “SNL” in 2006.

“It’s more good than you want it to be. So we said, ‘That guy’s nuts,’” Mulaney joked. And Gyllenhaal was interested in the part from the beginning.

“He called me, and he’s like, ‘Hey, I really like Mr. Music.’ And I was like ‘Whoa, thank you,’” Mulaney recalled, doing his best impression of a swoony-teenager on the phone with a movie star.

“He said, ‘How do you want me to play him?’ And I said, ‘Honestly, Mr. Gyllenhaal, we want you to make any choice that you want. And he went, ‘Oh, OK.’ He knew that meant to go big.”

Watch Mulaney telling the story – and a glimpse of Gyllenhaal’s performance – in the video above.

Longest Running TV Shows Still on Air in the US, From 'General Hospital' to 'The Simpsons' (Photos)

  • Here are the longest running TV shows still airing in the U.S. — not counting news and sports programming.

  • “General Hospital” 

    Series debut: April 1, 1963 

    The ABC daytime soap opera started as a half-hour show but it’s been an hour-long staple since 1978.

  • “Days of Our Lives”

    Series debut: Nov. 8, 1965 

    The NBC soap also spent its first decade as a half-hour show and has churned out decades’ worth of domestic drama.

  • “Sesame Street” 

    Series debut: Nov. 10, 1969 

    The children’s series, first launched on PBS with its mix of short segments and furry Muppets, has been broadcast in more than 120 countries.

  • “Masterpiece Theatre” 

    Series debut: January 10, 1971 

    PBS’ long-running anthology, many adaptations of classic novels, has gone through multiple hosts over the years — from Alastair Cooke to Russell Baker to Laura Linney.

  • “The Price Is Right” 

    Series debut: Sept. 4, 1972 

    Technically, this game show debuted in 1956 and ran for nine years on both NBC and ABC. But the 1972 relaunch, hosted by Bob Barker, has become a daytime mainstay with contestants playing guessing games about the cost of merchandise.


  • “The Young and the Restless” 

    Series debut: March 26, 1973 

    The soap opera joined the CBS daytime lineup in 1973 — and wound up outlasting the network’s “As the World Turns” which ended its 54-year run in 2010.

  • “Saturday Night Live” 

    Series debut: October 11, 1975 

    Lorne Michaels’ weekly sketch comedy series has launched the careers of countless stars over five decades.

  • “Wheel of Fortune” 

    Series debut: January 6, 1975 

    The TV version of Hangman started on NBC with host Chuck Woolery; Pat Sajak took over as host in 1981 and stayed with the show when it became syndicated two years later. 

  • “Jeopardy!” 

    Series debut: September 10, 1984 

    The syndicated quiz show first aired as a daytime show in 1964. The current syndicated evening version kicked off two decades later, with host Alex Trebek.

  • “The Bold and the Beautiful”

    Series debut: March 23, 1987 

    The CBS soap launched as a sister series to the Wisconsin-set “The Young and the Restless” despite its more glamorous L.A. locale.



  • “Cops” 

    Series debut: March 11, 1989 

    The docu-series ran on Fox for 24 years before jumping to Spike (and then the Paramount Network).

  • “The Simpsons” 

    Series debut: December 17, 1989 

    Matt Groening’s animated sitcom helped put the Fox network on the map — and it’s still going strong. Ay, caramba!



  • “America’s Funniest Home Videos” 

    Series debut: November 26, 1989 

    The collection of wacky clips has survived three decades on ABC.

  • “Power Rangers” 

    Series debut: August 28, 1993 

    The campy and colorful live-action superhero series for kids has jumped among a half-dozen networks over the years, and it’s spawned a series of big-screen adaptations.

  • “South Park” 

    Series debut: Aug. 13, 1997 

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s lo-fi animated satire has followed the adventures of Colorado fourth graders Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman through countless topical controversies on Comedy Central.

  • “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” 

    Series debut: Sept. 20, 1999  

    The spinoff of Dick Wolf’s original cop-legal drama, starring Mariska Hargitay as a detective (and later commander) on an NYPD unit handling sex crimes, has now outlasted its long-running predecessor.

Yes, we’re only counting entertainment shows — not news and sports programming

Here are the longest running TV shows still airing in the U.S. — not counting news and sports programming.

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