Last week, Saturday Night Live announced the hiring of three new comedians as featured players for the 45h season of the late night sketch series. However, one of the trio, comedian Shane Gillis, was immediately embroiled in controversy when undeniably racist comments made on a podcast from last year came to light. Thankfully, SNL has made the right choice by choosing not to bring him on board the show. Find out more about Shane Gillis fired from Saturday Night Live below.
A spokesperson on behalf of Saturday Night Live released this statement (via Variety):
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining. 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.”
If you take a look at Shane Gillis comedy, he seems to have a kind of Blue Collar Comedy Tour kind of appeal, a comedic style that appeals to working class people and perhaps even certain sects of the right-wing community. His accolades prove that he’s been a successful comedian through his decade working in the scene, but in the wake of this controversy, several voices from the comedy scene where Gillis cut his teeth expressed their confusion over his success, especially when it comes to some of his material that could be deemed racist and homophobic.
All you need to do is listen to some episodes of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, which Gillis co-hosts with comedian Matt McCusker, to hear that the kind of comedy being criticized here doesn’t require any discernible talent or cleverness. Even if it could be dubbed as satire, it’s bad satire. And it doesn’t sound like Gillis has much remorse over it either. Here’s the post he made on Twitter after his firing was announced:
What’s frustrating about this whole situation is that somehow the vetting at Saturday Night Live didn’t turn up any of these red flags. You would think that listening to the podcast that he co-hosts would have been included in that process and this entire mishap could have been avoided, allowing someone much more talented to take the spot instead. But now Gillis has a whole support system of deplorables who think that what he does constitutes a slap in the face of the First Amendment and is just another result of cancel culture and sensitive snowflakes, and whatever buzzword these people have come up with to portray their bigotry as being persecuted.. But let’s not forget that the First Amendment affords you the right to say and write want, but it doesn’t preclude you from the consequences of saying those things. And Shane Gillis just got a big fat dose of consequences.
At the very least, we can take solace in the fact that Shane Gillis won’t be sitting in the background of sketches for a season at Saturday Night Live, maybe getting one of his sketches on air, and then disappearing into the forgotten files of featured player history. Plus, SNL also hired writer Bowen Yang as their first full East Asian cast member, and that’s better than having another hack comedian join the cast.
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