If you’ve seen John Mulaney’s new Netflix special, you know all about a tough street-wise Chicago cop named J.J. Bittenbinder. So cartoonish you’d be forgiven for thinking he was an exaggerated comedic character, Mulaney describes Bittenbinder as a cowboy hat-wearin’, pocket watch-totin’, super serious detective who came to Mulaney’s grade school every year to teach them how to not be kidnapped and murdered.
Turns out, J.J. Bittenbinder is a real guy, STREET SMARTS! is also real, and now, Bittenbinder’s heard about Mulaney’s special, and he is super not happy about being the butt of so many jokes.
— Devan Coggan (@devancoggan) May 2, 2018
This week, Bittenbinder (man, what a fun name to write) told the Chicago Tribune that Mulaney made several false claims about his character. For one, he never wore a cowboy hat, saying it “doesn’t work” with a three-piece suit (he wore those to every presentation). For two, he isn’t happy about his name becoming the object of so much humor. He said it means “barrel-maker,” which he says is an “honorable profession.”
… Sorry, we had to take a minute there. That was funny.
Bittenbinder was also apt to point out that Mulaney misrepresented a couple of his safety tips. In the special, Mulaney says Bittenbinder advised the students to wear a money clip with $50 in it, and when kidnappers approach with intent to harm them, they can throw the money clip one way and run the other way. Bittenbinder said he advised kids carry $5 instead.
Smart tip. We’ll remember that. J.J. Bittenbinder—still making a difference. (h/t AV Club)