Comedian Shane Gillis has announced his first headlining performances in Philadelphia since he was fired from the cast of Saturday Night Live last month over racist comments made on his podcast.
Gillis, a Cumberland County native and 2016 Philly’s Phunniest winner, will perform five shows at Helium Comedy Club Oct. 24-26. Tickets for Gillis’ upcoming shows are on sale for $20 for general admission, and $28 for reserved seating. The performances are listed as being for adults 21 and older, but 18- to 20-year-olds can attend with a parent or legal guardian 30 or older.
Gillis was initially added to the cast of SNL’s 45th season last month alongside fellow comics Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, who reportedly is the show’s first Asian American performer. But hours after the show announced Gillis’ casting, outrage began building online over the comic’s use of racist and homophobic language on his podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, which he hosts with comedian Matt McCusker. McCusker will open the upcoming Philly Helium shows, Gillis announced via Twitter over the weekend.
Several days after the announcement that Gillis would join SNL, a spokesperson announced that the show had rescinded its offer to the comic, effectively firing him.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Gillis responded to the situation in a statement posted online, writing that he was “grateful for the opportunity.” He also joked that he “was always a mad tv guy anyway.”
While the Helium shows will be Gillis’ first run of headlining appearances in Philly since his SNL firing, the comic has performed elsewhere. Last month, he appeared at The Stand in New York City, where he discussed the fallout he has experienced since SNL’s initial announcement about his casting, according to Variety.
“It’s been weird,” Gillis reportedly said during the set. “Twitter has been ... nuts. You try to stay off it when the whole ... country hates you. That’s not a fun feeling as a human. Especially when you never get to say your side at all.”
In the wake of Gillis’ firing, several comedians have come to the Pennsylvania native’s defense, including Jim Norton and Bill Burr, as well as SNL alums Norm Macdonald and Rob Schneider. Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang has also defended Gillis, indicating last month that he would have a sit-down with the comic soon.
“We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive,” Yang tweeted last month in reference to the scandal surrounding Gillis. “We are all human.”