Stand-up comedian Shane Gillis became the shortest-ever tenured member of Saturday Night Live‘s cast on Monday, as the NBC series announced it had cut ties with Gillis, mere days after announcing his hiring.
From an SNL spokesperson on behalf of Lorne Michaels:
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. 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. 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.”
The 31-year-old comedian from Mechanicsburg, Penn., has had a wild 2019. After moving to New York City from Philadelphia (where he’d won the Philly’s Phunniest competition in 2016), Gillis was chosen to perform in June at Comedy Central’s Clusterfest as part of the network’s “Up Next” showcases. Then in July, Gillis made the cut for “New Faces” at Just For Laughs in Montreal.
But after auditioning for Lorne, and getting the call to join SNL, Gillis started covering his tracks, by deleting old podcasts. Ironically, the end of “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” wouldn’t be so secret.
Even before Thursday’s announcement of his hiring, Gillis drew suspicious but knowing vibes from his own fans on a subreddit devoted to his podcast.
On Sept. 10 (Tuesday), one fan connected the dots early.
Another predicted Gillis wouldn’t, couldn’t last at SNL.
Those fans thought the many jokes Gillis made at the expense of gay people would be his undoing. And yet, within hours of the announcement by NBC, freelancer Seth Simons had posted a video clip from the podcast in which Gillis is mocking Asians multiple times. Adding insult to insult, of course, SNL had announced hiring Gillis in the same move as promoting Bowen Yang, one of its writers, to become the first Asian-American man (who’s also openly gay) to the cast.
Late on Sept. 12, Gillis posted a non-apology statement on Twitter, which read: “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 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 has since followed up with this:
More on this story as it develops.