The booking of Gillis in an about-face for SNL; in 2019, Gillis was announced as a cast member but was fired before ever appearing in an episode after videos surfaced in which he used slurs and offensive language.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,’” a spokesperson for the show said at the time. “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 a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. 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 was originally announced to join SNL’s Season 45 cast alongside Bowen Yang, who was the show’s first cast member of full Asian descent and first gay Asian cast member. In the unearthed videos which led to his firing, Gillis mocked a Chinese accent and used homophobic slurs.
In a statement responding to the videos, Gillis said, “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. 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.”
Since his firing from SNL, Gillis has grown in popularity as a touring standup comedian.
Next show!!! pic.twitter.com/P6J6QQqOFY
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) February 4, 2024