‘SNL’ Fires New Cast Member Shane Gillis After Outcry Over Racist Jokes

Gillis was added to show’s 45th season on Thursday

Last Updated: September 16, 2019 @ 1:56 PM

“Saturday Night Live” fired new cast member Shane Gillis Monday after videos of Gillis using racial slurs in a September 2018 episode of his podcast surfaced on Thursday.

“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.”

Gillis responded to the firing in a tweet Monday.

“I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away. 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 guy anyway.”

The comedian responded to the Twitter outcry Thursday night after several people called for him to be fired for using racist language, homophobic comments and similar remarks on his podcast “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.”

“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. If you got through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of misses. I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said,” Gillis said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. “My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”

Shortly after it was announced that Gillis, Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang (the first cast member of Asian descent) were added to NBC’s long-running sketch show, freelance journalist Seth Simons shared a clip from a September 2018 episode of Gillis’ podcast, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” in which Gillis used a racial slur and imitated stereotypes about Asians and Asian culture. “Chinatown’s f–ing nuts,” Gillis says to comedian Matt McCusker. “Let the f-ing c—s live there, huh?”

In a second video from the same podcast episode, Gillis says, “An Asian trying to learn English bothers me more than someone listening to Lil Uzi Vert while I’m trying to eat f–ing dinner,” adding, “Nice racism. I love to be f–ing racist.”

All videos related to the podcast were deleted from YouTube soon after, but Vulture resurfaced several other instances of racist, sexist and homophobic comments, including a podcast episode in which Gillis disparaged female comedians and another in which he said comedians like Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard are white f—t comics” and “f–ing gayer than ISIS.”

The 45th season of “Saturday Night Live” premieres Sept. 28 on NBC.

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