New ‘SNL’ Cast Member Shane Gillis Responds After Racist Comments Surface

“I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”

2019 Clusterfest -  Larkin Comedy Club – Day 1
Jeff Kravitz

Well, that didn’t take long. Just hours after incriminating video surfaced of new Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis using racial slurs in a 2018 episode of his podcast, the Philadelphia stand-up issued an apology, kind of.

“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis wrote 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.”

What Gillis failed to acknowledge is that the comments in question—in which he takes aim at Asian people with a barrage of racist language and ideas—come as recently as last year. It also wasn’t an isolated incident. Shortly after the clip surfaced, more instances of Gillis’ bigoted rhetoric followed, including a clip in which he and his podcast co-host, Matt McCusker, rank the abilities of their fellow comedians based on their sexuality, gender, and race. “White chicks are literally the bottom,” Gillis says in the clip. “Ali Wong is making it so Asian chicks are funnier than white chicks.”

The Gillis fiasco dampened an otherwise glorious day for the show and its fans, who universally celebrated the other two hires—master-impressionist/internet darling Chloe Fineman and current SNL writer Bowen Yang, who is openly gay and will be the first Asian American cast member in the show’s history. It’s hard to imagine SNL not doing the proper vetting before hiring new cast members, but based on Gillis’ problematic history, it’s hard to imagine they dug too deep. SNL has yet to comment. The 45th season of Saturday Night Live returns to NBC on September 28.

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