The comedian will host 'SNL' on Feb. 24, alongside musical guest 21 Savage
Nearly five years after he was fired from Saturday Night Live, Shane Gillis is set to return to the show — this time as a host.
The comedian and actor, 36, will make his debut on the comedy sketch series on Feb. 24, alongside musical guest 21 Savage, SNL announced on Saturday.
After it was announced that Gillis will serve as host later this month, users on X, formerly Twitter, reacted, with one writing, "I’m so sorry but like… Shane Gillis?? Was literally every other entertainer on planet earth booked that week?? Did we try all the professional athletes???" as another added, "Letting Shane Gillis host SNL is pathetic."
A representative for SNL did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Just hours after Gillis was announced as a new SNL cast member alongside Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang in 2019, a clip of the comedian using an anti-Asian racial slur resurfaced on X, Variety reported at the time.
In a clip from a now-deleted 2018 episode of Gillis’ podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, the comedian told co-host Matt McCusker, “Chinatown’s f------ nuts,” later adding, “Let the f------ ch---- live there,” according to Variety.
After the immediate backlash that followed the resurfaced podcast clip, Gillis issued an apology, writing, “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. 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,” he continued. “My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
The resurfaced clip also prompted a further look into the podcast, as well as Gillis’ other public works, which then revealed several other clips in which he used a mock Chinese accent, as well as gay and ableist slurs, per Variety.
In other clips, he made Islamophobic and misogynistic comments, and also joked about sexual assault.
Gillis was subsequently booted from the series before he could make his first appearance, and a spokesperson for Michaels issued a statement about his firing.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” the rep said. “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.”
The statement continued, “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.”
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After SNL announced that he was no longer a part of the cast, Gillis released a statement of his own on social media in which he said that he respects the show’s decision to fire him.
“It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are. I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away,” he said. “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. I was always a mad tv guy anyway.”
Recalling his firing in a 2022 episode of the podcast Bussin' With The Boys, Gillis said that he made a "bad joke," but clarified, "I'm not saying I shouldn't have been fired. I've never denied that."
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