Controversial jokes performed by comedian Shane Gillis have resurfaced following the announcement that he will be hosting SNL. The long-running comedy sketch show announced on Saturday that Gillis will host its Feb. 24 episode, with musical guest 21 Savage.
However, the casting decision faced immediate pushback, thanks to the offensive language and edgy jokes he cracked on his podcasts. TMZ released excerpts from the podcast A Fair One on Tuesday, where Gillis can be heard using offensive slurs based on race, sexual orientation, and religion.
Shane Gillis was initially hired as a cast member for Saturday Night Live in 2019 but faced public backlash for past racist remarks, specifically targeting Asians. This was in the wake of promoting SNL writer Bowen Yang to be part of the cast.
Yang is the first Chinese-American and only the third openly gay cast member of SNL in its nearly 50-year history. Consequently, Gillis was dismissed from the show just days after landing the gig, without ever making an appearance.
The Specific Comedy Bit that Got Shane Gillis Canned from ‘SNL’
The main comedy bit that got Gillis in hot water was from a now-deleted 2018 episode of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast. “Chinatown’s f–king nuts. Let the f–king ch—s live there,” Gillis says at one point. In the clip, Gillis also imitated a stereotypical Chinese accent and mocked Chinese restaurants.
Swift and strong criticism prompted SNL creator Lorne Michaels to issue a statement clarifying that Shane Gillis would not be joining the show.
The comedian responded with a joke on Twitter, quipping that he was better suited for Mad TV. Later, he issued an apology on Instagram to anyone who was “actually offended” by his words.
Shane Gillis went on to point out that standup comedy often pushes boundaries, and admitted not every joke he had ever made landed as intended. “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses,” Gillis wrote in the now-deleted Tweet.
However, many argue that since his firing from SNL, Shane Gillis has surpassed all current cast members of the sketch comedy show. In recent years, Gillis has established himself as a prominent figure in the world of comedy.
Notably, he self-released a stand-up special on YouTube in 2021. It became a viral sensation with over 23 million views to date. Gillis has also achieved success with his highly acclaimed Netflix special, Beautiful Dogs, which premiered last September.
Gillis also scored a high-profile collaboration with Bud Light for an upcoming stand-up tour. Bud Light took to Instagram to share a photo of Gillis, officially announcing their partnership for the 2024 tour.