In an Jimmy Kimmel Live interview on Tuesday, comedian John Mulaney (Big Mouth, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse) revealed how his Saturday Night Live opening monologue led to a secret service investigation. Despite his stint as host on Saturday Night Live’s Halloween episode, just before the 2020 Presidential Eflection, a joke from Mulaney’s February 29 appearance as host is the one that landed him in hot water.
The comedian’s October Saturday Night Live monologue was not entirely uncontroversial itself, and Mulaney began his Jimmy Kimmel Live story with an explanation of the feedback he received over a recent election joke. “The intention of the joke was that some things will never change, despite the winner” Mulaney explained the premise of his monologue joke to Kimmel, claiming that he faltered in setting it up properly on the show. While Mulaney stands behind the punchline, he told Kimmel that he “deserved the backlash” for not outright condemning Trump in the joke’s set-up, via Jimmy Kimmel Live.
However, criticizing Trump on Saturday Night Live is exactly what put Mulaney on the secret service’s radar earlier this year. The former Saturday Night Live writer, explained how hosting appearances on the show bookended his unique year, via Jimmy Kimmel Live. Mulaney hosted the sketch comedy show’s first-ever Leap Day episode, just before projects shut-down due to the onset of COVID-19, and his first job coming out of quarantine was a return to host the show in October.
In February’s monologue, Mulaney informed viewers that Roman emperor Julius Caesar both invented the Leap Year and was stabbed to death. “That’d be an interesting thing if we brought that back now,” Mulaney comedically insinuated about the historic assassination on Saturday Night Live. After delivering the joke, Mulaney added a footnote about calling a lawyer for advise on including it in his monologue in the first place.
As it turned out, Mulaney may have needed some legal advice as that Julius Caesar joke led to an official secret service investigation into the comedian. Mulaney told Kimmel that he was “stoked” to have a file opened up on him, despite the hassle it caused. However, the Saturday Night Live alumnus “was not deemed a threat to national security”, though he could have told you as much himself, via Variety.
Entertainment Weekly points out that Mulaney joins a list of other comedians, such as Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan, The Cable Guy) and George Lopez (George Lopez, Lopez Tonight), who have had to answer to the secret service for jokes criticizing the outgoing administration. However, as Mulaney told the secret service himself, the comedian has been making jokes at Trump’s expense since 2007, via Jimmy Kimmel Live.
One of Mulaney’s most well-known jokes about Trump is from his 2018 special Kid Gorgeous in which he compares Trump’s presidency to a horse being let loose in a hospital. The comedian referenced this joke in an Instagram post after the 2020 Presidential Race was officially called for Joe Biden.
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Since the secret service told him “jokes were okay”, it’s likely that Mulaney will continue with his penchant for political humor. via Jimmy Kimmel Live. Aside from Trump, the comedian has taken jabs at New York City’s mayors, told stories about Bill Clinton’s unique charms with female supporters and holds out for a role in the hypothetical Pete Buttigieg biopic.