After a weekend of questions about why Saturday Night Live is so bad at doing research on its new hires, the sketch comedy institution has decided to just go ahead and do the thing it should’ve done five days ago by cutting new cast member Shane Gillis. For those who somehow missed it, Gillis was one of three new additions to the cast who were announced on Thursday (along with Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang), and about five minutes later, the collective internet uncovered multiple examples of Gillis using racist and homophobic language on a podcast. SNL itself stayed silent, but then Gillis got out a shovel and started digging himself in deeper with a classic “I’m sorry if you were offended” non-apology that also implied that it was actually super cool and edgy to be racist.
Now, Gillis’ SNL career has already ended, with a spokesperson for the show saying in a statement to Variety that they had initially hired Gillis “on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition,” but they “were not aware of his prior remarks that have resurfaced over the past few days.” The spokesperson also apologized for not seeing the clips beforehand, adding that they were “offensive, hurtful, and unacceptable” and that, “our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Of course, the internet managed to find these clips with no trouble, and a story from Vulture noted that the comedy scene in Gillis’ hometown of Philadelphia was well-aware of his fondness for racist comments, so it’s a mystery what SNL’s “vetting process” even entails. Maybe Lorne Michaels just asked him if he had ever said anything racist or homophobic on a podcast? Or maybe he just trusted that all new hires will freely share that information on their own?
Anyway, congratulations to Shane Gillis on his eventual gig yelling about censorship on some MAGA asshole’s YouTube page.