U.S. Secret Service Files Detail the Investigation into John Mulaney over ‘SNL’ Joke

The U.S. Secret Service also flagged Mulaney for joking that he "disliked the Founding Fathers immensely."
John Mulaney
John Mulaney
SNL YouTube

John Mulaney raised eyebrows at the start of December after revealing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that he was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service over a joke he made during the monologue of his “Saturday Night Live” hosting stint in February 2020. Now official U.S. Secret Service files obtained by the Associated Press detail the extent of the investigation into Mulaney. The AP, which used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the files, reports the bureau contacted NBC over the “SNL” joke but never interviewed Mulaney directly.

Mulaney’s “SNL” joke centered around the concept of leap years, as the host noted leap years were started under Julius Caesar. Mulaney added, “Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar, he was such a powerful maniac that all the senators grabbed knives, and they stabbed him to death. That would be an interesting thing if we brought that back now.”

Per the AP: “Two days after Mulaney’s ‘SNL’ monologue, law enforcement officials contacted Thomas McCarthy, the global chief security officer and senior vice president at NBC Universal, to express the agency’s desire to discuss the joke with the comedian’s attorneys. The Secret Service file included a report from Breitbart entitled, ‘SNL: John Mulaney Jokes that Senators Should Stab Trump Like Julius Caesar.’ The investigation into Mulaney was opened in March and closed in December.”

According to the Secret Service files, Mulaney made “no direct threats towards Trump” and thus no wrongdoing was found on the comedian’s part. The files did include other jokes from Mulaney’s “SNL” monologue, including one bit where the comedian quipped that he “disliked the Founding Fathers immensely,” adding, “I hate when people are like, ‘God has never created such a great group of men than the Founding Fathers.’ Yeah, the ’92 Bulls. That’s a perfect metaphor for the United States. When I was a boy, the United States was like Michael Jordan in 1992. Now the United States is like Michael Jordan now.”

Speaking to Kimmel in December, Mulaney said, “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. 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.”

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

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