What: A wryly indecent Trump joke told on live TV.
Who: Comedian and Fast Company’s nominee for permanent SNL host, John Mulaney.
Why we care: Better safe than sorry. After witnessing the financial and reputational damage (not to mention all the harassment) that Kathy Griffin sustained from her controversial, uh, art about Donald Trump, one would do well to tread lightly when wading in similar waters in full public view. It’s certainly a lesson that hasn’t escaped John Mulaney, who very carefully told a Trump joke on live TV over the weekend.
Much like his masterful “Horse in the hospital” bit from his 2018 Netflix special, Kid Gorgeous, Mulaney never mentions Donald Trump by name during the monologue of his stellar third turn hosting SNL. However, the implication of his comparison to another “powerful maniac” from history is unmistakable, and the punchline is so dark that Mulaney has to clarify afterward that he ran the joke by his lawyer first to make sure he was allowed to tell it on TV. (Fast Company has reached out to Mulaney’s publicist to confirm whether the part about his lawyer is in fact part of the joke.)
To give away any more would be too much, but listen to the joke for yourself in the clip below. (It starts at about 3:18.)