John Mulaney continued his tour of the late night talk shows of America on Kimmel Live
last night, where he divulged a surprising bit of news: apparently he was investigated by the Secret Service after a joke in his February Saturday Night Live monologue.
During Mulaney’s first SNL hosting gig of 2020, he made a joke about how it’d be “interesting” if senators still stabbed “powerful maniacs” to death like they did in the days of Caesar. Apparently that reference to assassination that doesn’t even mention the president or any other specific target was enough to get Mulaney a visit from the Secret Service after it aired. “Am I stoked there’s a file open on me?”, Mulaney tells Kimmel. “Absolutely. Did I enjoy it in the moment? Not so much.”
That’s not the only time politics pop up in Mulaney’s interview. He also discusses the controversy over his October SNL monologue, when he called the then-upcoming election an “elderly man contest” and made the not especially shocking or incorrect claim that, even if Biden wins, the institutions that drive this country will pretty much keep chugging along without much of a notable difference. As he tells Kimmel, “the poor will still suffer, the rich will continue to prosper, the mentally ill and the drug addicted will not be taken care of, Jane Lynch will still book gig after gig and do a great job at it.” Some were upset by the apparent bothsidesism of his monologue—and honestly, it wasn’t a smart idea to make that joke just three days before the election, and the way it was phrased did overlook the very tangible ways the Trump Administration has impacted the health, safety and stress levels of the American people. Mulaney’s joke was less apolitical ambivalence or edgelord nihilism, and more left-wing cynicism, but he understandably regrets the confusion, and admits today that it wasn’t a good joke. And, as usual, he does it with grace and humor.
Check out the full segment below, where Mulaney also plugs the new season of Big Mouth, which starts on Netflix tomorrow. The whole thing is long enough and Mulaney-guided enough that it almost qualifies as short-form comedy special in its own right.