Embattled stand-up comic Shane Gillis will not be joining Saturday Night Live this fall because of the controversy surrounding his past racial slur use. The NBC comedy program just made the announcement, apologizing for any deficiencies in their vetting system that allowed for Gillis to be hired in the first place.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” an SNL spokesperson said on behalf of Lorne Michaels. “We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
After his firing by NBC was announced, Gillis slapped back on Twitter, saying “I was always a Mad TV guy anyway,” referring to SNL‘s one-time Fox late-night rival. (Read his full statement below).
Just hours after Gillis was announced as a new featured player for the coming season last Thursday, a 2018 YouTube video surfaced in which he uses a racial slur against Asians. The revelation triggered several days of continuous outcry. The comments on the now-deleted video from a podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, were even more jarring since SNL that same day cast its first Asian-American cast member, Bowen Yang. (Gillis, Yang and Chloe Fineman were announced as the new featured players for the upcoming season.)
Subsequently, other questionable comments made by Gillis on other editions of the podcast were unearthed, which made him continuing on SNL even more controversial.
As backlash against Gillis’ remarks grew and even involved Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, he issued a tepid apology on Instagram on Thursday night, in which he wrote, “I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said,” adding, “My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
Landing SNL was a big break for Gillis, whose résumé includes Comedy Central radio show The Bonfire. He has performed stand-up at various New York clubs and was featured as a New Face at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal.
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