Saturday Night Live has officially fired new cast member Shane Gillis, saying he made “offensive, hurtful, and unacceptable” comments in a video that has resurfaced.
On Thursday, the comedy show revealed its three newest stars: Shane Gillis, Chloe Fineman, and Bowen Yang (who was previously an SNL writer). But it was just hours after that announcement that a clip from last year featuring Gillis began to circulate online.
The video was posted to a YouTube channel called ‘Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast’ in September of 2018.
In the clip, Gillis talks about Chinatown, making comments and spewing insults, using a racial slur to refer to people living in Chinatown, and even making fun of Chinese accents. Understandably, it garnered immediate rage from SNL viewers and plenty of other social media users, prompting many of them to call for him to get fired.
The comments he made were shocking (and not funny), to put it lightly.
Initially, the backlash prompted Gillis to address the issue on Twitter, claiming that he is “a comedian who pushes boundaries.” He writes it off as a “miss,” saying that if you start digging into his “10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses.” He also offers to apologize to anyone “who’s actually offended.”
According to Gillis, trying to be the best comedian he can “requires risks.”
Apparently, Saturday Night Live doesn’t agree with Gillis that his derogatory and racist remarks were simply a “miss.” Only days after the clip began circulating, SNL announced Monday that it has officially parted ways with the comedian.
On behalf of show creator Lorne Michaels, an SNL spokesperson released a statement saying that although they “hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition,” that he would no longer be joining the show.
“We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced,” the spokesperson said, and added, “The language he used is offensive, hurtful, and unacceptable.”
Gillis might want to think about taking some online classes to learn some new skills, as I’m not sure how he’s going to recover from the harm his video has done to his comedy career.
And while Gillis made another statement on Twitter, claiming that he respects the decision that SNL made, it’s not entirely clear that Gillis quite gets why what he did was wrong.
He says that “it feels ridiculous” that comedians should have to make serious public statements and adds, “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get on SNL. that can’t be taken away.”