'SNL' Drops 'Impressive' New Cast Member After 'Offensive' Old Jokes Resurface


The producer of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” announced on Monday that newly hired comedian Shane Gillis has been fired due to past “offensive” comments about race and homosexuality.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,’” an “SNL” spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of producer Lorne Michaels, according to Variety.

“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,” the statement continued.

“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.”

Gillis, 31, responded to the decision, tweeting, “It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are. I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away.”

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“Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL,” he added, “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 guy anyway.”

Gillis was one of three new cast members announced by “SNL” last week. However, shortly thereafter clips began circulating of the comedian using racist and other derisive language about homosexuals and others.

Freelance writer Seth Simmons shared a video last week from “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” featuring Gillis and fellow comedian Matt McCuster talking about New York’s Chinatown.

In a September 2018 episode, Gillis says, “Chinatown’s f—ing nuts … There are a lot of Chinee [sic] down there.”

McCuster responded wondering how it ever got started.

“Let the f—ing ch-nks live there,” Gillis said as the two bantered back and forth on the subject.

He went on to observe that ordering food in a restaurant in Chinatown can be a challenging because of the language barrier, as he imitated his exchange with a waitress.

Later in the episode, the comedians discussed racism, with Gillis arguing that if he were visiting China, Chinese people would be speaking about him in the same way, making fun of the way he talks.

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In addition to accusations of racism, Gillis has also received criticism for engaging in homophobic rhetoric.

Variety reported in “Ep 146 — Live from Shane’s Parent’s Basement,” while discussing the Battle of Gettysburg, Gillis refers to soldiers yelling as “so gay.” The comedian also uses the word “retard,” and “f-ggot,” and shortly afterward he and McCuster joke about “hot Southern boys” being raped during the Civil War, comparing it to “having gay sex in jail.”

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang — a Taiwanese-American, who Gillis referred to as a “Jew ch-nk” in a May “Real A– Podcast, hosted by comedians Luis J. Gomez and Zac Amico” — appeared willing to forgive and forget.

Yang first tweeted on Saturday, “Shane — I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots. But I’m happy to sit down and talk with you if you’d like.”

In a Monday tweet, Yang reported, “Shane Gillis reached out. Looks like we will be sitting down together soon.”

The entrepreneur told CNN that same day, “I think that (Gillis) deserved another chance to keep his job, but the folks at NBC obviously felt differently.”

Do you think Gillis should have been fired?

Asked why he believed this, Yang answered, “as a society, we have become unduly punitive and vindictive about people making statements that some find offensive or distasteful.”

“As the person who was personally called out in this case, I thought that if I could set an example that we can forgive people, particularly in an instance where, in my mind, it was in a comedic context or a gray area, that I thought it would be positive. Obviously, it is in NBC’s hands and they made the decision they made,” he said.

Former “SNL” cast member Rob Schneider also came to Gillis’ defense Monday on Twitter.

In May 2015 interview on ESPN, Jerry Seinfeld warned about the negative effect political correctness has on comedy.

“I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC,'” the comedian said.

Seinfeld added that college students don’t really understand racism or sexism, but nonetheless the accusations fly.

He said, “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t even know what the f—k they’re talking about.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith