In his recent Netflix special Kid Gorgeous At Radio City, John Mulaney dedicates a good chunk of his set to Detective J.J. Bittenbinder, a former Chicago cop with a big mustache and a cowboy hat who used to visit schools and make presentations to kids about how to avoid being kidnapped and murdered. Mulaney’s jokes brought Bittenbinder back into the public consciousness, and we all had a good laugh about how accurate Mulaney’s jokes were when some clips of Bittenbinder’s talks resurfaced. Unfortunately, the real Bittenbinder doesn’t think any of this is particularly funny, telling the Chicago Tribune that he never wore a cowboy hat to schools because it “just doesn’t work” with a three-piece suit.
Bittenbinder also told the Tribune that he didn’t appreciate Mulaney’s jokes about his name, explaining that it’s German for “barrel-maker” and that it’s an “honorable profession” that his ancestors used to do—a response so brutal that Mulaney probably feels like he just got knocked out. Bittenbinder also noted that Mulaney misrepresented some anti-crime tips from his adult-targeted program, explaining that he suggests people keep a money clip with $5 in their pocket so they can give it up to a mugger instead of their real wallet. In his special, Mulaney says this was a tip the detective told to kids at schools and that it was a $50 bill, but Bittenbinder says he’s fudging the truth “to get laughs.”
Still, Bittenbinder isn’t too heartbroken about all of this, saying that he “must have gotten through” to Mulaney if he’s still talking about this stuff from when he was just a kid. We don’t know if Mulaney has ever been murdered or kidnapped, but if not he should probably think about thanking Detective Bittenbinder instead of making him somewhat famous.