John Mulaney says he was investigated by Secret Service after "SNL" joke

The comedian revealed on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that a joke that didn't even mention Trump sparked backlash

Published December 3, 2020 6:55PM (EST)

John Mulaney on the Leap Day 2020 episode of "Saturday Night Live"  (Will Heath/NBC)
John Mulaney on the Leap Day 2020 episode of "Saturday Night Live" (Will Heath/NBC)

This article originally appeared on Variety.


John Mulaney said comments he made on "Saturday Night Live" in February resulted in the Secret Service opening an investigation into him.

During an interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Tuesday, the comedian — who got his start as a writer on "SNL" — mentioned that he received backlash for a joke that was, at most, circuitously in reference to the sitting U.S. President, Donald Trump, earning him a probe from the Secret Service.

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"In February, I did a joke that was not about Donald Trump," Mulaney said. "The joke was about how it was a leap year, and leap year had been started by Julius Caesar to correct the calendar, and another thing that happened with Caesar was that he was stabbed to death by a bunch of senators because he went crazy. And I said I think that's an interesting thing that could happen."

Since the comment being made had no direct mention of Trump and Mulaney had penned no "manifestos" or "rants" against the President online, he was not deemed a threat to national security. But when asked if there was any information pertinent to the investigation, he said he forgot to mention that he had leased out an apartment in Washington D.C. for a year as his wife worked on a project for the Smithsonian.

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"The person vetting me was very understanding that the joke had nothing to do with Donald Trump because it was an elliptical reference to him," he said. "I didn't say anything about him. In terms of risk assessment, no one who's ever looked at me thought I registered above a one."

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Despite the numerous jokes the comedian has made at Trump's expense, his comedy ultimately did not pose a genuine threat to the investigating team, he said.

"I said I have been making jokes about him since 2007, so I have been making fun of him for 13 years," Mulaney said. "They said if it's a joke, then I am cleared by the Secret Service."


By Eli Countryman

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