Shane Gillis jokes about SNL firing in divisive opening monologue: ‘Don’t look that up’

Comedian was removed from the show in 2019 just days after being hired

Louis Chilton
Monday 26 February 2024 05:00 GMT
Shane Gillis jokes about firing while hosting SNL

Shane Gillis joked about his firing from Saturday Night Live during the opening monologue of this weekend’s episode.

The 36-year-old comedian was hired by SNL in 2019 but sacked just days later after podcast clips in which he used racist language resurfaced online.

Gillis was however, chosen to host Saturday night’s (24 February) episode, alongside musical guest 21 Savage.

During the opening of his introductory monologue, Gillis alluded to the scandal, telling the crowd: “Thank you very much. I’m here... Most of you probably have no idea who I am.

“I was fired from this show a while ago. But... don’t look that up. Please. If you don’t know who I am, please don’t Google that. It’s fine. Don’t even worry about it,” he joked.

Gillis struggled to win over the studio audience throughout his monologue, delivering a short standup routine that covered subjects including down’s syndrome and his father, who was in attendance.

“There’s my dad, the volunteer assistant girl’s high school basketball coach,” he said. “I thought that was funny. You don’t think that’s funny, to bring my dad here to make fun of him for being a girl’s basketball coach?

“I thought that was great. Nevermind. I thought that was going to be a big hit here.”

Gillis was hired as part of the cast of SNL in September 2019, but was met with an outcry due to the comedian’s history of racist and homophobic jokes.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” a spokesperson for the popular sketch series said at the time.

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“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.

Shane Gillis on ‘Saturday Night Live'
Shane Gillis on ‘Saturday Night Live' (NBC)

“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, meanwhile, responded to his sacking at the time on social media, saying that his presence on the show would have been a “distraction”.

“I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t get taken away,” he wrote. “Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction.

“I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity.”

Since then, Gillis has enjoyed a successful career as a touring standup, and last year released his first Netflix special, titled Beautiful Dogs.

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