New documents obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday reveal that the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) opened an investigation into comedian John Mulaney for a joke he told while hosting Saturday Night Live that the agency believed to be about then-president Donald Trump.
Hosting the show on Feb. 29, also known as “leap day,” Mulaney’s joke centered on Roman emperor Julius Caesar, who in 45 BC introduced the 365-day calendar which included an extra day every four years.
“He started the leap year in order to correct the calendar and we still do it to this day,” Mulaney said. “Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar was, uh, 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.”
According to the documents obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the agency opened its investigation into “inappropriate statements regarding President Trump” on Mar. 1, the day after the show aired, and kept the case open until last month.
The investigative summary also shows that USSS was also interested in a monologue joke Mulaney made comparing the U.S. founding fathers to the 1992 Chicago Bulls.
“When I was a boy, the United States were like Michael Jordan in 1992,” the comedian said. “Now the United States is like Michael Jordan now.”
The agency did not interview Mulaney, saying that “although no direct threats were made, due to the popularity, it is likely concerned citizens will report this.”
Mulaney himself first revealed the existence of the investigation during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last month, where he explicitly said that the joke was “not about Donald Trump.”
This is not the first time the Secret Service has looked into a celebrity for perceived comments about Trump. As previously reported by Law&Crime, in 2019 the agency investigated Grammy-winning rapper Eminem (Marshall Mathers) after a TMZ employee asked if they were looking into lyrics in the song “Framed,” which the employee said were “threatening” to Ivanka Trump.
According to the documents obtained by BuzzFeed News, “the song was about a murder that he couldn’t remember and must be ‘framed’ with the specific lyrics.” This is what the report stated before citing the lyrics in question verbatim.
“Donald Duck’s on as the Tonka Truck in the yard, But dog, how the f*ck is Ivanka Trump in the trunk of my car?…’cause I feel somewhat responsible for the dumb little blonde Girl, that motherf*ckin’ baton twirler that got dumped in the pond, Second murder with no recollection of it…”
The Secret Service previously interviewed Eminem in 2003 after he released the song “We as Americans,” in which he rapped, “I don’t rap for dead presidents / I’d rather see the President dead.” George W. Bush was president at the time.
[image via SNL/YouTube screengrab]
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