Shane Gillis, one of three comedians announced as new cast members on “Saturday Night Live,” is coming under fire for making jokes containing racial slurs. Not long after Gillis’ “SNL” casting was announced, freelance writer and editor Seth Simons posted on Twitter a video from Gillis’ podcast, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” in which the comedian is heard saying, “Chinatown’s fucking nuts. Let the fucking ch*nks live there.” Gillis addresses Chinese restaurants by joking, “The translation between you and the waiter is such a fucking hassle, I’m pointing at it.”
Variety reports additional episodes of Gillis’ podcast finds the comedian having “a long history of denigrating women, Muslims and the LGBT community, among other groups.” In one episode about the Battle of Gettysburg, Gillis refers to screaming soldiers as “so gay” and uses the words “retard” and “faggot.” One joke finds Gillis and his co-host comparing “hot Southern boys” being raped in the Civil War to “having gay sex in jail.”
Gillis issued an apology soon after his problematic jokes began resurfacing on social media. “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries,” he wrote in a statement. “I sometimes miss. 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.”
Neither NBC nor “Saturday Night Live” have commented publicly on Gillis’ history, although there is growing backlash online urging the sketch comedy series to drop the performer from its ensemble.
— Shane Gillis (@Shanemgillis) September 13, 2019
today SNL announced the hiring of its first cast member of East Asian descent, and also this guy pic.twitter.com/0FAGJZJUkK
— Seth Simons (@sasimons) September 12, 2019