John Mulaney reveals he was investigated by the Secret Service for 'Saturday Night Live' joke

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, comedian John Mulaney has explained that he was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service for a joke he told on Saturday Night Live.

Although Mulaney hosted the show on Oct. 31, just days before a presidential election that saw record turnout, it was something he said when he hosted on Feb. 29, 2020 that got him flagged.

John Mulaney told a controversial joke, according to the U.S. Secret Service. (Photo: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
John Mulaney told a controversial joke, according to the U.S. Secret Service. (Photo: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

“Leap Year began in the year 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar. This is true,” Mulaney said. “He started the Leap Year in order to correct the calendar and we still do it to this day. Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar was he was such a powerful maniac that all the senators grabbed knives and they stabbed him to death. That’d be an interesting thing if we brought that back now.”

He joked that he consulted with his lawyer on whether he could say that: “He said, ‘Lemme call another lawyer.’ And that lawyer said yes.”

On Tuesday, Mulaney explained during a virtual appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he was investigated afterward.

“I guess they opened a file on me because of the joke, and I have to say, am I stoked there’s a file open on me? Absolutely. Did I enjoy it in the moment? Not so much,” Mulaney said. “But the person vetting me... was very understanding that the joke had nothing to do with Donald Trump. It was an elliptical reference to him. I didn’t say anything about him.”

The Big Mouth star, who said he’s written punch lines about Trump since 2007, was quickly cleared in the incident.

“They were very nice in the interview,” said Mulaney, a Democrat. “In terms of risk assessment, no one who’s ever looked at me thought I registered above a 1. So they said, ‘Now, is there anything else we should know about?’”

Mulaney didn’t think to mention that his wife was working on a project for the Smithsonian Institution.

“I failed to realize that, after telling the Secret Service they had nothing else to worry about, that I had leased an apartment for one year in Washington,” Mulaney said. “And that that apartment was across the street from the Secret Service building.”

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