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Why Was Shane Gillis Fired from Saturday Night Live?

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On February 24, Shane Gillis will host Saturday Night Live.

In a vacuum, this decision by producers should not come as a surprise… considering Gillis is a very successful stand-up comedian whose special on YouTube in 2021 has garnered over 23 million views.

Gillis also has filmed a Netflix special titled “Beautiful Dogs,” which was released last September.

And most recently, he agreed to partnership with Bud Light for his upcoming stand-up tour.

Shane Gillis on stage
Shane Gillis performs onstage during the 17th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Benefit presented by Bob Woodruff Foundation and NY Comedy Festival at David Geffen Hall on November 6, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation)

Gillis is a funny guy and will probably do a solid job, but here’s the thing:

Shane Gillis was hired to be a cast member by Saturday Night Live in 2019. And then he was fired a short time later by Saturday Night Live.

Like, days later.

Ahead of Season 45, executives reversed course on Gillis’ hiring after a clip of him using an anti-Asian slur on his podcast went viral on Twitter.

Shane Gillis arrives at Guy Fieri's Flavortown
Shane Gillis arrives at Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Tailgate on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

On one installment of his podcast with fellow Matt McCusker, the hosts riffed about Chinatown, prompting to Gillis use the aforementioned slur while also imitating a Chinese accent by using the word “nooders” instead of noodles.

“Let the f-ckin ch-nks live there,” Gillis said at the time.

Gillis apologized and also said he was “comedian who pushes boundaries” that sometimes misses the mark, stating he may very continue to make jokes that some deemed to be inappropriate.

It may not have helped Shane’s cause back then that the show had also just hired Bowen Yang, its first-ever Asian-American cast member.

Shane Gillis attends the 17th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Benefit
Shane Gillis attends the 17th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Benefit presented by Bob Woodruff Foundation and NY Comedy Festival at David Geffen Hall on November 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation)

“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,” a spokesperson for executive producer Lorne Michaels told NBC News in 2019.

“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.”

Not permanently, though, apparently.

It should be rather interesting to see how this topic is addressed when Gillis takes to the stage on February 24.

Get your popcorn ready, folks!

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