Late Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for Lorne Michaels announced that Saturday Night Live would be cutting ties with new hire Shane Gillis, who was previously announced to be joining the upcoming season 45 cast along comedians Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang as featured players. However shortly after the news was announced, recent podcasts from 2018 surfaced in which Gillis could be heard making sexist, homophobic, and racist remarks (targeting Chinatown and Asians, in particular) leaving people outraged.
Likewise, those familiar with Gillis in the Philadelphia comedy scene corroborated a history of those type of offensive remarks onstage and off, which eventually led to his banning from the city’s Good Good Comedy Theatre.
We, like many, were very quickly disgusted by Shane Gillis' overt racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia – expressed both on and off stage – upon working with him years ago. We've deliberately chosen not to work with him in the years since.
— Good Good Comedy Theatre (@goodgoodcomedy) September 13, 2019
As with his initial non-apologetic “sorry to anyone who took offense” strategy, Gillis appeared stubbornly unrepentant in his own statement on Twitter over the decision, starting off by claiming that it was “ridiculous” for a comedian to have to do so in the first place.
“I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away,” he added. “Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a mad tv [sic] guy anyway.”
Not surprisingly, his statement did not go over spectacularly well online, as people were quick to celebrate NBC’s decision.
It was really too much for racist Shane Gillis to say: "I apologize for saying those things about the Chinese community. I understand why it was wrong and why I can't be on SNL for upcoming season. I wish the best of luck to Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman." https://t.co/xpzYVJV7zT
— asian canadian lady (@karenkho) September 16, 2019
The last line is actually very fitting, as Mad TV's most popular character was a white woman imitating an Asian woman https://t.co/egSywa0i17
— Jeremy Gordon (@jeremypgordon) September 16, 2019
Shane Gillis has been fired from SNL, and of course, he exits with a statement reflecting all the grace and humility with which he entered.
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 16, 2019
why is it so hard for men to say 'i fucked up,
I know better & will do better now & im sorry.' will your dick fall off if you do that? serious question. will your dicks fall off if you apologize and take accountability for literally anything? https://t.co/4p5ZcsTPwg
— tracy the emotional support penguin (@brokeymcpoverty) September 16, 2019
Rumor is SNL asked Shane Gillis to make a better apology, and when he wouldn't, they fired him. I believe it. SNL is demonstrably cool with racism, but if there's one thing they absolutely will not stand for it's having principles.
— Rachel McCartney (@RachelMComedy) September 16, 2019
SNL reversing its decision to hire Shane Gillis isn’t a triumph of cancel culture or political correctness or whatever else idiots will label it. It is the swift and appropriate rectification of a mistake.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) September 16, 2019
When Gillis said that calling us chinks was “nice racism, good racism,” what he meant was, “This racism is okay because Asians are submissive so I won’t suffer consequences.”
Don’t try us. And don’t set foot in Chinatown ever again dude. https://t.co/5G6fKY5G2F
— Stephanie Foo (@imontheradio) September 16, 2019
extremely lucky we got to be done with you before we ever had to get started. https://t.co/hsQhQpjpWT
— lindsey romain (@lindseyromain) September 16, 2019
Apparently, it *can* be taken away! https://t.co/ZTji9draA6
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) September 16, 2019
what about the word f****t is funny?
— Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons (@GuthrieGF) September 16, 2019
You didn't "get" SNL. Your name will never be on the opening credits, it will never be listed as a writer, your photo will never hang at 30Rock.
You are just a homophobic, misogynistic, racist who will be forgotten. Hope the door hits you on the way out.
— Yolanda Machado (@SassyMamainLA) September 16, 2019
SNL has higher standards than we do for President of the United States. https://t.co/xUO7xXzs5b
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) September 16, 2019
How soon until this guy is invited to the white house for fast food? https://t.co/wvvWIIzoCv
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) September 16, 2019
But at least a few people game to the defense of Gillis:
Nobody tell SNL about Eddie Murphy's Delirious. https://t.co/BL92SrnRix
— Zach Broussard (@ZachBroussard) September 16, 2019
Shane Gillis gets cancelled for once saying "offensive" things.
That used to be a comedian's entire f*cking job description.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) September 16, 2019
Perhaps therein lies the problem. Whereas being offensive maybe used to constitute a comedy act, by 2018 we had evolved to a point in society that throwing around slurs was no longer acceptable, under really any circumstances. If being banned by a comedy club didn’t tip that off to him, it seems unlikely that being fired from SNL will, either.