Nearly two months after a group of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, the FBI is still relying on crowdsourcing to identify those people—and its latest call led to the alleged identification of a beloved comedy actor.
The FBI posted its latest effort on March 4 as it looks to identify the man in photo 247. It shared two photos of a white man with gray hair. In one photo, he is wearing a camouflage face mask, and in the other, he is maskless and appears to be taking a photo or video with his phone.
“The #FBI is still seeking information on people who took part in the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” the FBI tweeted. “If you know this individual, visit http://tips.fbi.gov. Refer to photo 247 in your tip.”
Soon after the FBI shared the photos, many people appeared to recognize the man in the photo. It wasn’t because they knew him personally but rather because they’ve watched him on TV. They argued that the man in photo 247 looked a lot like Jay Johnston, who’s appeared in Mr. Show with Bob and David, The Sarah Silverman Program, and who voices the character Jimmy Pesto in the long-running series Bob’s Burgers. (Johnston also appeared on a podcast hosted by Proud Boys co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2017.)
On Twitter, the Mr. Show and Bob’s Burgers jokes flowed freely.
But soon, it appeared that the man in photo 247 didn’t just look like Johnston—it may actually be Johnston.
The Daily Dot has contacted Johnston’s representatives for comment.
As word that Johnston is allegedly the man in the photo spread, comedian Tim Heidecker asked if there was confirmation. A few hours later, Heidecker said that he “Fully confirmed through reliable sources,” and when asked to clarify, Heidecker said that he confirmed that it was Johnston in the photo.
The FBI has yet to provide an update on whether it has followed any leads on the man in photo 247. But, as more than one person noted, it probably doesn’t speak well to the FBI if photo 247 is of Johnston and it needed help crowdsourcing the identity of an actor who’s been working in comedy for decades. (According to Gizmodo’s Matt Novak, Johnston’s photo even comes up when the FBI’s photo is run through a free photo search.)
“If that actually is Jay Johnston, it’s probably not great for the FBI that they had to crowdsource the identity of someone who’s been on TV for like 25 years,” Media Matters editor-at-large Parkey Molloy tweeted.
But as it remains clear whether or not the man in the photo is actually Johnston, people are continuing to lean on Mr. Show and Bob’s Burgers jokes.