John Mulaney's Leap Year joke on 'Saturday Night Live' put him on the Secret Service's radar.
Of all the jokes that could have landed John Mulaney in the Secret Service hot seat, his one about Leap Year and Julius Caesar was the one that actually did him in.
Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live ahead of the latest season of Big Mouth, Mulaney recounted the time that he was investigated by the president's service that is secret after his February 2020 hosting turn on Saturday Night Live.
Here's the joke from that episode's opening monologue: "Leap Year began in the year 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar. This is true. 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. I asked my lawyer if I could make that joke and he said, 'Lemme call another lawyer.' And that lawyer said yes."
Mulaney told Jimmy Kimmel that the Secret Service investigated him after that show. "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 comic recalled the interviewer being "very nice" and that he was eventually "cleared," or so he was been told. "In terms of risk assessment, no one who's ever looked at me thought I registered above a 1," he joked. So, add Mulaney to the George Lopez and Kathy Griffin crowd as a comedian whose jokes put him on the radar of the Secret Service.
Less dramatic was the backlash he received about his more recent SNL monologue from October, in which he promised nothing will change in America no matter who wins the 2020 presidential election. "Which I really didn't even agree with," Mulaney remarked. "I often say things on TV in front of 10 million people that I'm just kinda floatin' as ideas."
Regardless, he received responses about the fact that he seemed to be suggesting a Joe Biden presidency wouldn't be any different than another four years of Trump. He called that a "deserved" backlash.
"I should have said, 'I very much want one to win over the other and there will be improvements if one wins,'" Mulaney added. "I flat out forgot, I just forgot to do it. I ran the joke in like a field in Connecticut and I was like, 'OK, let's rock 'n' roll.' And I never was like, 'Hey, don't you mean that one guy's worse than the other.'"
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This story originally appeared on: EW - Author:Nick Romano