Saturday Night Live has just made a controversial announcement. The NBC sketch comedy show took to social media following last night’s show, hosted by The Bear’s Eye Edebiri, to share that comedian Shane Gillis will be hosting the Feb. 24 show with rapper 21 Savage as the musical guest.
The lesser-known comic was a controversial pick, considering SNL fired Gillis in 2019 after he made racial and homophobic slurs on a podcast at the time.
SNL had originally cast Gillis along with three other comedians in 2019. But shortly after his comments on a since-deleted 2018 episode of the podcast Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast came to light. In the footage from the podcast, Gillis was seen mocking a Chinese accent and restaurants and using racist slurs.
Gillis and co-host Matt McCusker also ranked comedians on how funny they were based on race and while using homophobic slurs.
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At the time, Gillis spoke out on Twitter (now X) about the resurfaced comments.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis wrote at the time. “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.”
After the comments came to light, SNL creator Lorne Michaels released a statement at the time regarding Gillis’ firing.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” the statement read at the time. “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. 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.”
Immediately after the announcement that Gillis was hosting, viewers took to the comments section to call out the show for the decision while others praised SNL for giving Gillis another chance.
One celebrity fan who was seemingly excited about the announcement was Travis Kelce, who commented on Gillis’ announcement of the hosting gig, “LFG!!!”
Comedian Dane Cook also commented, “This is one of the raddest things I’ve seen and why you can’t complain when life throws you a ‘detour’ cuz it might be the road to the top. Congrats Shane!”