New ‘SNL’ Cast Member Addresses Use of Slurs After Videos Resurface – Rolling Stone
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New ‘SNL’ Cast Member Addresses Use of Slurs After Comedy Videos Resurface

Shane Gillis addresses bigoted comments made in his “10 years of comedy,” and also 11 months ago

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 21: Shane Gillis performs onstage at the 2019 Clusterfest on June 21, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest)

New 'SNL' cast member Shane Gillis has defended his use of slurs in comedy, following a series of resurfaced videos.

FilmMagic for Clusterfest

New Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis has issued a statement defending his use of slurs in comedy, following a set of his old stand-up routines and podcast appearances resurfacing on social media.

“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis wrote in a classic Notes app apology on Twitter. “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.”

However, the controversial bits of Gillis’ comedy that have resurfaced are much more recent than 10 years ago. On Thursday, following the announcement of Gillis’ SNL hire, a since-deleted video from September 2018 of Gillis making racist jokes towards Chinese people on a podcast began to circulate on social media, after being re-shared by comedy reporter Seth Simons.

“Chinatown’s fucking nuts,” Gillis said in one clip to his co-host Matt McCusker on Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast. “‘Let the fucking chinks live there, huh?'” Later in the episode, Gillis adopted a racist Chinese accent, made fun of Chinese people trying to learn English and said the conversation was “nice racism, good racism.”

In another episode, Gillis and McCusker rank how funny comedians are by race, gender and sexuality. “White chicks are literally the bottom,” Gillis says (at the 2:20 mark below). “Ali Wong is making it so Asian chicks are funnier than white chicks.” Later in the episode (around the 12-minute mark), they mock the confessional style of comedians like Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard, referring to them as “white faggot comics” and “fucking gayer than ISIS.”

It’s unclear how thoroughly Saturday Night Live vetted Gillis before hiring him. All the past episodes of Matt & Shane’s Secret Podcast have been scrubbed from the show’s YouTube channel, but as Vulture pointed out, there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to the podcast that is filled with examples of the comedian’s slurs and bigoted remarks including, allegedly, against current SNL writers. (The subreddit has since been made invite-only.) In addition to Gillis, SNL‘s other recent cast hires include Chloe Fineman and SNL writer Bowen Yang, who is openly gay and Chinese-American.

Members of Gillis’ local comedy scene in Philadelphia have also confirmed Gillis’ history of racism, homophobia and sexism in his comedy. “Good Good Comedy Theatre stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage,” Good Good Comedy co-owner Kate Banford told Vulture.

SNL has yet to comment on Gillis’ past remarks. The show returns to air September 28th.

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