New SNL Hire Confronts Not-So-Past Racist, Homophobic Remarks
Same Song, Different Slur
September 14th, 2019 – Saturday Night Live announced its newest cast members yesterday and just as people began celebrating the show finally casting a comic of East Asian decent, focus shifted to Shane Gillis’ racist, homophobic, and sexist comments. Hours after the news broke, clips from Gillis’ podcast resurfaced showing him calling Chinese people chi*ks and using an offensive accent to mock their voice and English language skills.
Gillis was announced alongside improviser Chloe Fineman and current SNL writer Bowen Yang. And while new hires often have old, problematic tweets unearthed ( Melissa Villaseñor had to deal with pushback in 2016 from her 2010 feed), some of Gillis’ controversial material is from 2018. The standup co-hosts a podcast on Sirius XM with Matt McCusker called Matt and Shane’s secret podcast where the two have not-so-secretly slurred.
Seth Simons, a freelance writer who covers comedy, originally shared the clips on Twitter (even though the show’s YouTube page had already scrubbed the actual episodes).
Gillis is seen talking about the Chinatown neighborhood in Los Angeles calling it “fucking nuts.”
“It’s full fucking Chi-na,” he said. “Let the fucking chi*ks live there, huh?”
Gillis and McCusker go on to slam the architecture with Gillis saying he’s “pissed” when he visits and wants them to “get these ducks out of the window.” He also does an imitation of a Chinese server getting confused while taking his order and refers to “noodles” as “nooders.”
“The translation between you and the waiter is such a fucking hassle, I’m pointing at it,” he said.
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
Gillis goes on to classify his comments as “nice racism, good racism.”
this, again, is from September 2018 pic.twitter.com/inYFT22zjl— Seth Simons (@sasimons) September 12, 2019
Vulture highlighted another episode where the two are heard attacking standups who perform confessional-style comedy. They reference Judd Appatow and Chris Gethard calling them “white f*ggot comics” and “fucking gayer than ISIS.” They also spent time in that episode ranking humor skills in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation.
“White chicks are literally the bottom,” Gillis said. “Ali Wong is making it so Asian chicks are funnier than white chicks.”
While SNL has made no public comment on the controversy, other organizations who chose to part ways with the comic have spoken out. Good Good Comedy Theatre co-owner Kate Banford said her company “stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”
Twitter was quick to part ways with him, as well, with several people slamming SNL and trying to highlight Bowen Yang.
I know so many comedians who DON’T have shit like this in their “past” (2018), and would be better for the job. Also, fuck both these guys. https://t.co/YiYnrVAMEN— Ted Leo (@tedleo) September 13, 2019
snl just can’t give us a birthday cake without shitting on it first https://t.co/pZUc4GzmVS— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) September 12, 2019
cultural impact:— j*ss (@depressedchrry) September 12, 2019
bowen yang shane gillis
Yeah if you want to know what being a person of color is like, it’s literally that for every Bowen Yang-shaped step you take forward, you also take one racist-ass Shane Gillis-shaped step back https://t.co/mTkG1rBzf6— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 12, 2019
TV writer and podcaster Ira Madison III tweeted “Every single remark is from 2018 so we won’t be playing that ‘they’re a decade old!!!’ game this time.” However, Gillis issued the standard “Notes” app apology last night and focused on his 10 years of comedy. He offered an apology if you were offended but defended his tactic of pushing boundaries.
September 13, 2019