When comedian John Mulaney hosted “Saturday Night Live” on February 29 — Leap Day — he made a joke about President Trump. Sort of.
In his opening monologue, Mulaney said: “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,” Mulaney said.
Then he added: “I asked my lawyer if I could make that joke and he said, ‘Lemme call another lawyer.’ And that lawyer said yes.”
The joke prompted an investigation by the Secret Service, Mulaney revealed Tuesday on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“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 [because] it was an elliptical reference to him. I didn’t say anything about him.” Mulaney noted that the Secret Service interviewer was “nice” and ultimately “cleared” him of any wrongdoing.
There was more. “So they said, ‘Now is there anything else we should know about?’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And they were like, ‘Anything else?’ And I was like, ‘Do you mean like anything bad I’ve done?’ And they were like, ‘We don’t mean anything bad you’ve done,’” he said, later adding: “I said, ‘No.’ They’re like, ‘You don’t have any postings about Donald Trump anywhere online that we would find? Rants or manifestos?’”
“I said no, I’m not, I have bad writing habits, I could never pound out a manifesto. And I said I have been making jokes about him since 2007. So, I’ve been making fun of him for, you know, 13 years, there’s that, and they said, ‘Okay, well if it’s jokes.’”
Mulaney also said that his wife was working on a project with the Smithsonian Institution and that they had an apartment down in Washington, D.C. “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 D.C.,” he said, “and that that apartment was across the street from the Secret Service building.”
Mulaney is not the first comedian investigated by the Secret Service. Kathy Griffin in 2017 released a photo in which Griffin held a bloodied, severed effigy head of Trump.
She was investigated and nearly two months later, she announced, she was cleared. But Griffin claimed that the probe was unnecessary and that Trump was responsible.
“Of course,” she told ABC News at the time. “You know how he works.” She offered no proof, but added, “You know, he has a vendetta against certain people.”
“What I didn’t realize is I was just being thrown into, like, the Trump wood chipper,” she said. “I didn’t realize that day that they already had this apparatus in place. You know, how to coordinate with [Sean] Hannity and Fox News and how to coordinate with TMZ.”