On the same day that NBC’s Saturday Night Live cast its first-ever Asian cast member, a video has surfaced in which Shane Gillis, another of Season 45’s new hires, uses racist slurs while critiquing Chinatown and its culture.
In a clip (embedded below) from “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast”, dated September 2018 and brought to light on Twitter by freelance writer Seth Simons, Gillis refers to “the f–king ch-nks” while riffing with cohost Matt McCusker on Chinatown’s architecture and restaurants. Gillis and McCusker also use racist pronunciations such as “dericious” and “nooders,” and go on about the “f–king hassle” of communicating their menu orders to Chinese waiters.
Gillis, who was recently recognized as a New Face at the 2019 Just for Laughs Festival, on Thursday morning was announced as one of SNL‘s three new cast members, along with the aforementioned Bowen Yang (who is Chinese) and Chloe Fineman.
NBC has not yet responded to TVLine’s request for comment on Gillis’ comments from 11 months ago, in a YouTube podcast video which has since been deleted.
Vulture went on to report that a Philadelphia comedy club owner, among other industry sources surprised by Gillis’ SNL gig, had stopped working with the comedian within the past few years “because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”
UPDATE: Gillis tweeted a statement on Thursday night acknowledging the backlash, though his response was hardly a blanket apology for his comments. Read his full tweet below: