Shane Gillis Was Investigated By the Secret Service for His Trump Assassination Joke
Gillis told that joke in his 2021 YouTube special Live in Austin, but even before it reached the screens of 20 million comedy fans, the Department of Homeland Security had it saved in their file for the Pennsylvania-born comic. Back in late 2019, Gillis was in hot water with the Saturday Night Live fandom because of his hired-to-fired speed run made possible by his use of a racial slur in an episode of Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast. The non-casting was front-page news across the country, but Gillis would quickly follow it with a second, more secretive scandal when, in his first stand-up set following the controversy at The Stand in New York, he debuted his bit on why then-president Donald Trump would be the most entertaining assassination victim in the history of the Oval Office.
The Messenger recently published their findings from a Freedom of Information Act request that show how Gillis’ gag sparked a Secret Service probe, in which the law enforcement agency that is charged with the protection of the country’s most prominent leaders “pulled (Gillis’) personal information such as his social security number, criminal history, last known phone number and address and his vehicle information” as part of their investigation. I’m pretty sure Twitter did the same thing when they found that podcast clip.
According to The Messenger, the investigation began when the offending joke was published in news outlets as part of their coverage on the controversial comic of the moment. A protective intelligence research specialist of the Secret Service then disseminated an email noting the concerning contents of the joke, titled, “Discovery of Threatening Statement by Comedian Shane Gillis.” Though the agency did a thorough search into Gillis’ history for other inciting comments or behavior, they, apparently, did not feel that the assassination punchline warranted criminal charges against the comic.
Secret Service Deputy Special Agent in Charge Rosanna Donaghey responded to The Messenger's request for comment, telling them, “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.”
Gillis has made a habit of poking fun at the former president in his comedy and is known as one of the better Trump impressionists in entertainment. However, Gillis’ riffs on the embattled businessman and politician aren’t exactly attacks — not even in the Jimmy Kimmel, lame late-night monologue way. In his routine, Gillis treats Trump like a hilarious character in his favorite TV show instead of a figure worthy of scorn or punishment, even revealing that he rooted for Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary debates with the excitement of a kid watching wrestling.
So, no, Gillis is not a threat to Donald Trump’s well-being — but he could be to Biden’s. As Gillis said in the same special, he thinks he could make Kamala Harris president with a single punch.