The Secret Service was called in to formally investigate comedian Shane Gillis after he joked Trump would be the “funniest president to see get shot.”
They took the joke seriously and investigated the matter despite the fact it was meant as part of a comedy routine and not as outright incitement towards former President Trump.
Gillis has been lauded for his impressions of Trump. He even posed for a photo with the former presidents at a UFC event in Las Vegas earlier this year.
The comedian originally made the joke during an appearance in 2019. Gillis, who is frequently a guest of mega podcaster Joe Rogan, caught the attention of the Secret Service and they did not appear to have a sense of humor about it.
(Video Credit: Shane Gillis)
The investigation into Gillis surfaced when The Messenger got a hold of previously undisclosed government records concerning the incident via a Freedom of Information Act request.
“Gillis, 36, has been making headlines thanks to a hit new Netflix special. The assassination joke came during his first stand-up show in the immediate aftermath of being hired and fired from Saturday Night Live after online backlash in 2019 over a slew of racist and homophobic slurs Gillis made on his podcast Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” The Messenger reported.
The comedian made the joke about the former president at The Stand NYC comedy club.
“I will say this: Of all the presidents I’ve been alive for, Trump would definitely be the funniest one to see get shot,” Gillis quipped in 2019. “Like, without a doubt, that’d be funny. I’m not asking for that; I don’t want that to happen, but it would be funny to see. He’d be on stage talking sh*t, the shooter would be coming at him, and he’d be like, ‘Sit down.’ He’d definitely make a funny noise when he got hit. … It would be funny.”
Dave Chappelle Invites Cancelled Comedian On Stage To Joke About Trump and Biden
SHANE GILLIS: “I think Biden is the first President you could punch assassinate.” pic.twitter.com/om38N0T7k6
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 30, 2023
After his performance, Gillis wrote on X, “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
It was not the only time he told the joke. In fact, Gillis has told it repeatedly since then.
He told it in 2021 during a special taped in Austin, Texas. During that set, he also took a poke at President Biden. Gillis insinuated that he was the first president that someone could take out with a punch due to his age and fragile condition. Oddly, that did not get the attention of the Secret Service according to The Messenger.
According to the documents, after Gillis told the Trump joke in 2019, a protective intelligence research specialist at the Secret Service flagged it. The Messenger noted that the specialist sent out an email with the subject line, “Discovery of threatening statement by comedian Shane Gillis.”
“The Secret Service employee wrote that they found Gillis’ joke by doing routine open source intelligence research and found that multiple news outlets had reported on the joke and his comedy routine. In the files is a screenshot from a September 2019 article from The Washington Times which includes Gillis’ photograph,” the media outlet added.
Shane Gillis on the night Trump announced they killed the ISIS leader. His Trump is more Trump than Trump
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) November 6, 2023
“In the records, the Secret Service writes that Gillis was not interviewed when he made ‘inappropriate statements toward POTUS,’ and that the information had not been presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible charges,” rendering the whole incident pretty much moot.
However, during the investigation, the Secret Service did pull his social security number, criminal history, last known phone number and address, and vehicle information. All of that is pretty standard when you are being scrutinized by the Secret Service or pretty much any other government agency. Gillis was also vetted through three internal databases for reports about past threats or criminal history. Nothing came up.
“The Secret Service routinely looks into real or perceived threats against the president. Under U.S. law, ‘knowingly and willfully’ making ‘any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm’ against the president or others in the line of presidential succession is a federal felony. If convicted, individuals could receive a fine or be imprisoned for five years or both,” The Messenger wrote.
The Secret Service responded to queries on Gillis pretty much exactly the way you would expect them to.
“The Secret Service is aware of the comments made by Mr. Gillis, and as a matter of practice, we do not comment on matters involving protective intelligence. We can say, however, that the Secret Service investigates all threats related to our protectees,” Secret Service Deputy Special Agent in Charge Rosanna Donaghey told The Messenger in an interview.
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