Former ‘SNL’ Cast Members Rob Schneider, David Spade, And Norm MacDonald Defend Shane Gillis

The ousting of Shane Gillis from Saturday Night Live this week — over a history of racist, homophobic, and sexist remarks — has once again reignited the debate around cancel culture and the line between funny and offensive. Though the consensus on Twitter seems to be that Gillis more or less reaped what he sowed, some comics are coming forward to defend the Philly comedian, including a few former SNL cast members.

Perhaps the most outspoken so far has been Rob Schneider, who jumped on Twitter on Monday in the wake of the news of Gillis’ firing.

“As a former SNL cast member I am sorry that you had the misfortune of being a cast member during this era of cultural unforgiveness where comedic misfires are subject to the intolerable inquisition of those who never risked bombing on stage themselves,” he wrote, addressing Gillis.

Schneider also sparred with a few people who challenged him on his take, adding that he thought a suspension would have been a more fair punishment for Gillis. “An honest, sincere apology and also accepting it seems appropriate as well,” he wrote. “Destroying someone does not.”

Unfortunately, the problem is that Gillis did not issue an honest or sincere apology, which was rumored to have been the final straw for NBC.

In his final thoughts on the subject, Schneider seemed to do an about-face. “It’s not okay to say racist things under the guise of comedy,” he admitted. “Just because you have a mic in your hand doesn’t make the racist things you say any less racist.”

No stranger to controversy, former SNL cast member Norm Macdonald also weighed in on Monday, coming to the defense of Gillis. “Hey, Shane, I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how you must feel,” Macdonald wrote. “The work it takes to get that show and to have it snatched away by some guy who does ‘Spoken Bird’ poetry. Unacceptable.” He also shared a tweet about Gillis’ firing adding that it “means war.”

Like Schneider, Macdonald also clapped back at a few of the individuals who challenged him:

David Spade also addressed the situation on his Comedy Central show on Monday night, initially declining to comment — instead tossing the topic over to his guests Bill Burr and Jim Jefferies. Both the outspoken Burr and Jefferies unsurprisingly took the side of Gillis, and eventually, Spade added a similar sentiment.

“I think when I was younger, on SNL, when you get hired, the first move wasn’t to rifle through your past to make sure you get fired right away,” he said. “Because people — the guy that won the Heisman — and then within an hour someone’s like, ‘Well I went back 15 years and guess what, he did something shitty.’ It’s like, yeah, we all do.”

Unfortunately, the problem that Spade and his colleagues seem to be missing is that this wasn’t 15 years ago. Gillis made the remarks just last year, and before that had been blacklisted from Philly comedy clubs over that same “shitty” behavior. It’s not to say that “cancel culture” isn’t worthy of a valid debate, but maybe this guy isn’t the hill to die on.