SNL to welcome back Shane Gillis after he was fired for ‘hurtful, unacceptable language’

SNL to welcome back Shane Gillis after he was fired for ‘hurtful, unacceptable language’

Comedian Shane Gillis will make his Saturday Night Live hosting debut on 24 February, more than four years after he was fired as a cast member.

He will be joined by 21 Savage as the evening’s musical guest.

In 2019, Gillis was fired from the SNL cast due to his use of homophobic and racist language.

The stand-up comedian had been hired alongside Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman to join the season 45 cast of NBC’s popular late-night sketch show.

However just a week later it was announced that Gillis had been dropped from the show after clips of him making racial slurs and homophobic comments resurfaced.

“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,” a spokesperson for the show said at the time.

“We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days,” they added. “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.”

Shane Gillis (Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Fo)
Shane Gillis (Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Fo)

The day after his initial casting was announced, the comedian apologised to “anyong actually offended” by his comedy, tweeting that he is a “comedian who pushes boundaries”.

“If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses,” he continued. “I’m happy to apologise to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said. My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”

Several clips from a podcast he used to host with fellow comic Matt McCusker went viral within hours of his casting.

In one conversation, Gillis described ordering food at a Chinese restaurant, saying: “The translation between you and the waiter is such a f***ing hassle”, and “more annoying than any other minority playing music out of their phone. 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.”

In another viral clip, Gillis and McCusker attempt to “rank” comedians by race and gender. “I think gay dudes are funnier than white chicks,” Gillis says. “White chicks are literally the bottom. [Comedian] Ali Wong is making it so Asian chicks are funnier than white chicks.”

Gillis later addressed his firing on social media, writing: “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t get taken away.

“Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction,” he continued. “I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity.”