Newly added Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis is facing criticism online after videos of him using racist, sexist, and homophobic language surfaced on Twitter just hours after the announcement that he would be featured in the show’s upcoming 45th season.
Gillis, a native of Mechanicsburg who later moved to Philadelphia and won a Philly’s Phunniest award from Helium Comedy Club in 2016, was announced on Thursday as a new SNL performer alongside comics Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, who is reportedly the show’s first Asian American cast member. Gillis is currently based out of New York.
Video from a September 2018 episode of Gillis’ podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, shows Gillis and co-host Matt McCusker (himself a Delaware County native and 2014 Philly’s Phunniest winner) disparaging an unknown city’s Chinatown neighborhood. In segments first reported by freelance comedy journalist Seth Simons, the pair can be heard using mocking accents and racial slurs. The episode itself, titled “Ka-Pow,” has since been deleted from YouTube and the podcast’s online archive.
A segment from another episode, reported by Vulture, features Gillis and McCusker discussing fellow comedians Chris Gethard and Judd Apatow, who are described by the pair using homophobic slurs. Another part of that episode has Gillis and McCusker ranking comics by gender, race, and sexual orientation.
In a third episode, from earlier this month, “Ep. 146 — Live from Shane’s Parents’ Basement,” the duo discusses the Battle of Gettsyburg using homophobic and sexist language, Variety reports.
Following the spread of outrage online, Gillis issued a statement late Thursday indicating he would be “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended” by his comments. “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis wrote.
Representatives at NBC did not immediately respond to request for comment.
After news of Gillis’ past remarks spread online, some figures in the Philadelphia comedy community denounced the comic on social media.
“We, like many, were very quickly disgusted by Shane Gillis’ overt racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia — expressed both on and off stage — upon working with him years ago,” Good Good Comedy Theatre wrote on Twitter. “We’ve deliberately chosen not to work with him in the years since.”
Good Good owners Kate Banford and Aaron Nevins did not immediately respond to request for comment.
“I have been on shows with him,” fellow Philly comic Gregg Gethard, brother of comedian Chris Gethard, wrote on Twitter, before telling him in crude terms to get lost.