Getty Images for the Bob Woodruff Foundation
It’s been a strange few weeks for Saturday night live. Two weeks ago, during a night organized by lady web actress Dakota Johnson, cast members Bowen Yang and Sarah Sherman they distanced themselves of Dave Chappelle when the transphobic comedian crashed SNLThe farewell segment at the end of the program. Then last week, the show whitewashed Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s racist Civil War denialism. Now, America’s top comedy series has decided to welcome Shane Gillis as host.
In 2019, SNL announced that Gillis would be joining the show’s cast. A clip of Gillis’ appearance on Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast in which the comedian made a series of racist and homophobic jokes, including calling Chinese people “fucking Chinese” during a segment on Chinatown and making a racist imitation of a Chinese accent. Gillis was fired before debuting.
“After speaking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” the producer’s spokesperson Lorne Michaels said in a statement. “We want SNL have a variety of voices and points of view within the program… The language you used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. “We regret not having seen these clips sooner and that our vetting process was not up to our standards.”
gillis more or less apologized, tweeting (and later deleting): “I am pleased to apologize to anyone who was offended by anything I have said. “My intention is never to hurt anyone, but I try to be the best comedian I can be, and sometimes that takes risks.” He later added in a follow-up tweet: “I was always a (Mad TV) guy anyway.”
Gillis’ comments were particularly bad given the SNL had hired Bowen Yang, its first Asian-American cast member, at the same time as Gillis.
In the years since, Gillis has returned to the ranks of the comedy space thanks to a series of image-rehabilitation appearances on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. The Joe Rogan Experiencethe endorsement of comics like Bill Burr and Theo Von, a New Yorker profile and a role in the Peacock series, starring Pete Davidson Bupkis, which was produced by Lorne Michaels. Netflix released its second comedy special, Shane Gillis: beautiful dogsin September 2023.
And now he will present the February 24 episode of Saturday night livetogether with the musical guest – and Rolling Stone cover star — 21 Wild.
Last week, Asian American organizations spoke out against the organization and said they were “disheartened” by SNLThe decision to hand over the platform to Gillis. Norman Chen, executive director of the Asian American Foundation, he told TMZ who wants Gillis to “genuinely” apologize while hosting, adding: “Asian Americans are not the punchline to a joke. While these jokes may provide cheap laughs, they also have deadly real-world consequences for Asian Americans.”
That probably gave me a healthy perspective on how the historical aspect of my involvement in the show will always be offset by some other quality of show business, or how the real world works.
in a Rolling Stone In an interview last June, Yang weighed in on Gillis’ hiring and firing ordeal, saying, “All of that happened, and I remember mentally trying to figure out, ‘What’s the best path forward here?’ Very few people work with people who align with themselves in every way, and that’s exactly what comedians do, right? There are strange bedfellows wherever you go. She was trying to move forward with this attitude of, ‘Let’s try to make this work.’ That probably gave me a healthy perspective on how the historical aspect of my involvement in the show will always be offset by some other quality of show business, or how the real world works.”
He continued: “I was like, ‘Let’s keep moving forward.’ That really helped me. I haven’t really let things rub off on me. And I have examined it in therapy. It’s not that I lack coping mechanisms, it’s just that the process and outcome are defined by identity, and the identity here is that I am someone who can make things work. That’s something SNL Teaches you: How to use MacGyver (or MacGruber) to find a solution. I was trying to make the best of a bad situation, and it took me that first season to try to transcend that. Between Shane and I, we’ve both tried to get over that really strange circumstance, and I think we have. He seems to be doing well and I’ve been very lucky.
On Tuesday, TMZ unearthed a series of other sketchy comments Gillis had made on old podcasts, including hurling several ethnic and homophobic slurs.