UPDATED 9/16, 4:05 p.m. ET: Saturday Night Live will no longer bring Shane Gillis aboard, per a spokesperson.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” the spokesperson said ("on behalf of Lorne Michaels," Deadline notes). “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. 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.”
Gillis’ swift reply on Twitter proclaimed, “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away.” He acknowledged his joining would be “too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made.”
UPDATED 9/13, 7:15 a.m. ET: Shane Gillis has released a statement via Twitter regarding his use of a racial slur. "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," he wrote.
Gillis added that he'll offer an apology to people he's "actually offended."
"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."
Read his full statement below.
Vulture pointed out more Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast material where Gillis and his co-host “chat about comedians who adopt a more confessional style, like Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard, and mock them using homophobic slurs, calling them ‘white f****t comics’ and ‘fucking gayer than ISIS.’"
Vulture spoke to several members of Philadelphia’s comedy community, “where Gillis lived and performed from 2014 through last year," as well. Kate Banford, co-owner of the Good Good Comedy Theatre, said her club “stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”
One more source told the site, “Just want to say as a comedian who came up in Philly comedy at the time Shane was blowing up, [it] was extremely discouraging! As a queer female-bodied comedian, a man using the language he did and got so much recognition for was really disheartening.”
See original story below.
Saturday Night Live's season 45 has already drawn controversy—and it hasn't even premiered yet.
On Thursday, the sketch comedy series confirmed it has added three new faces to its cast, including award-winning comedian Shane Gillis—a Pennsylvania native who was recognized as a New Face at the 2019 Just for Laughs Festival. Hours after the big announcement, footage of Gillis using anti-Asian slurs resurfaced on the internet, igniting a wave of backlash.
The clips were shared by entertainment reporter Seth Simons, who says the comments were made during a 2018 episode of the Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.
"Chinatown’s fucking nuts," Gillis tells his co-host comedian Matt McCusker. "Let the fucking c***ks live there."
Simons also shared a clip from the same podcast episode, in which Gillis complains about how "annoying" it is to hear Asians trying to learn English.
"An Asian trying to learn English bothers me more than someone listening to, like, Lil Uzi Vert while I’m trying to eat," he said, before describing his comments as "Nice racism, good racism."
Simons points out that the podcast channel has since been deleted from YouTube. Gillis and NBC have yet to comment on the controversy.
The new SNL cast members also include Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, who is the show's first Asian-American full-time cast member. Yang joined SNL last year as a writer, and portrayed Kim Jong Un in a March episode hosted by Sandra Oh.
The show will return for its 45th season on Sept. 28, with hosts Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.