On Monday, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” caved to pressure and fired comedian Shane Gillis over past offensive jokes.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,'” a statement from a “SNL” spokesperson read, according to CNN. “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 production team was “not aware of [Gillis’] prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days,” the spokesperson said.
As previously covered by The Daily Wire, journalists dug up commentary made by Gillis on a podcast called “Matthew and Shane’s Secret Podcast” — his project with fellow comedian Matt McCusker, wherein Gillis used a stereotypical mocking Asian voice and made fun of Democratic candidate and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, referring to him as a “Jew chink.” In another episode, according to The New York Times, Gillis “used homophobic slurs to describe Judd Apatow, the comedy filmmaker and producer, and the comedian Chris Gethard.”
“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,” the “SNL” statement said.
Gillis posted a response to the news of his ouster on social media, noting that it “feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements.”
“I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get ‘SNL.’ That can’t be taken away,” wrote Gillis. “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,” Gillis joked.
Earlier in the week, Gillis addressed the controversy at New York City comedy club “The Stand,” according to the Times. The comic told the crowd he was “playing a character on the podcast and that he did not himself think of Chinese people that way,” the outlet reported. In a statement posted the following day, the stand-up said his edgy comedy sometimes “misses the mark” and offered an apology to “anyone who’s actually offended.”
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis said on Friday. “If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses. I’m happy to apologize 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,” he added.
Though the overwhelming response from the media was to so-call “cancel” Gillis, presidential contender Andrew Yang, who was called a “Jew Chink” by the comic during a bit, rebuffed calls for the comic to be fired.
“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,” Mr. Yang posted on Saturday, adding, “For the record, I do not think he should lose his job. We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human.”
In follow-up tweets, the Democrat posted: “I took the time to watch and listen to Shane’s work. He does not strike me as malignant or evil. He strikes me as a still-forming comedian from central Pennsylvania who made some terrible and insensitive jokes and comments,” he said. “I think we have, as a society, become excessively punitive and vindictive concerning people’s statements and expressions we disagree with or find offensive. I don’t think people should be losing jobs unless it’s truly beyond the pale and egregious.”
It appears Gillis agreed to a sit-down chat with Yang about the comedy in question.
“Shane Gillis reached out. Looks like we will be sitting down together soon,” posted Yang on Monday, soon after it was announced that Gillis had been fired.