Comedian Shane Gillis has issued a statement after
Gillis’ racial slurs came back to haunt him immediately after he was announced as a new cast member for the upcoming season of New Saturday Night Live, alongside writer and comedian Bowen Yang, the show’s first fully East Asian cast member.
Aside from saying a racial slur against Chinese people, Gillis threw insults against waiters at Chinese restaurants. He eventually proclaimed what was obvious: “nice racism, good racism. I love to be f—ing racist.” When the clip emerged, “SNL” and NBC also came under fire for the now-controversial casting.
Gillis has since issued a statement via Twitter, justifying his comments by saying he’s a “comedian who pushes boundaries.” He also apologized to “anyone who’s actually offended” by what he said.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” wrote Gillis. “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 ever 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.”
It has become a popular opinion on social media that there was nothing remotely funny in the controversial exchange and racism is not a comedic risk.
Commenting on Gillis’ tweet, “Wu Assassins” star Lewis Tan explained how his statements can only be considered a risk if he said them near the actor.
Many in the Asian American community have responded to the controversy:
According to Vulture, Gillis has a reputation for including both racial and homophobic remarks in his stand-up comedy sets. Good Good Comedy Theatre co-owner Kate Banford expressed surprise when SNL’s casting news emerged.
“Good Good Comedy Theatre stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage,” Banford was quoted as saying.
In another video still posted to the “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” YouTube channel as of this writing, Gillis and his co-host McCusker rank comedians by race, gender, and sexual orientation, saying “white chicks are literally at the bottom,” after the 2:20 mark.
“Ali Wong is making it so Asian chicks are funnier than white chicks.” The two co-hosts continue to disparage Ali Wong’s comedy.
Near the 12:00 mark, Gillis and McCusker mock Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard using homophobic slurs, calling them “white f*ggot comics” and saying they are “fucking gayer than ISIS.”
“Saturday Night Live” and NBC have yet to issue a statement regarding the controversy of their newest cast member.