Rob Schneider Levels SNL Officials for Firing Up-and-Coming Comedian Over Bad Joke


Has political correctness gone too far? Actor Rob Schneider certainly thinks so, and he just pushed back against producers at left-leaning Saturday Night Live in a surprising series of tweets.

As a comedian, Schneider is most famous for his raunchy early 2000’s movies, but he was also a cast member of NBC’s venerable sketch program between 1990 and 1994. That experience gave him a unique perspective on a recent controversy, the firing of Shane Gillis.

Gillis, a comedian recently hired by SNL, was promptly dropped after year-old videos of him making edgy jokes on a podcast resurfaced. His comments were seen as racist toward Asians by many people, including (apparently) the decision-makers at NBC.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,'” a spokesperson for the show said in a Monday statement, according to CNN.

“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.”

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Schneider was not impressed with the decision to boot the up-and-coming comedian from the show. On Monday, he addressed a message to Gillis on Twitter and slammed NBC’s decision to fire him.

“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,” Schneider wrote.

For his part, Gillis had already issued an apology of sorts. He acknowledged that some of his past humor had missed its mark, but also defended the risks he took in order to develop as a comedian.

But the damage was done. NBC has shown no hint of rethinking its decision, prompting other comedians and even a 2020 presidential candidate to chime in.

Comedian David Spade seemed to side with Schneider in criticizing the firing. “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,” Spade said, according to CNN.

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Fellow comedian Bill Burr, a guest on Spade’s talk show, agreed. “You could honestly do that to anybody. I don’t get it. Millennials, you’re a bunch of rats. None of them care; all they want to do is get people in trouble.”

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang also commented, speaking as an Asian-American who could easily have been offended by the controversial jokes about his race. But he took a measured tone, declining to condemn the comedian.

“I think we have, as a society, become excessively punitive and vindictive concerning people’s statements and expressions we disagree with or find offensive,” Yang posted on Twitter. “I don’t think people should be losing jobs unless it’s truly beyond the pale and egregious.”

It should go without saying that racist rants and hateful speech are no way to treat others. But at the same time, some of our most famous comedians rose to fame with acts that were once considered politically incorrect and offensive.

There must be room for free speech to thrive, particularly in the often edgy world of comedy. SNL can choose whichever cast members it sees fit, but the “cancel culture” of the perpetually offended may be going too far.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.