Shane Gillis Sidesteps SNL Firing in Host Monologue, But Admits: ‘I Probably Shouldn’t Be Up Here’

Saturday Night Live has long been near the center of the culture wars, but not since Donald Trump was the guest host have they courted controversy quite so head-on as this weekend.

Former cast member Shane Gillis (total number of on-air appearances: zero) hosted this week and, given how many people were interested in what he had to say about his firing… surprisingly little was said.

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Gillis was originally announced as a new SNL cast member in 2019, along with Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang. That is, until clips from a podcast appearance — in which he went knee-deep into racism against Asians, transphobia, and misogyny — made the rounds. More clips surfaced, and the show retracted its offer. His career has flourished since, including stand-up specials on YouTube and Netflix.

“I was fired from this show a while ago. Don’t look that up. Please,” he quipped near the beginning of his SNL host monologue. “If you don’t know who I am, please don’t Google that, it’s fine! Don’t even worry about it.”

He went on to joke that he probably shouldn’t be there, but beyond that, none of the previous controversy was ever mentioned.

Gillis’ material was primarily about his family – after making fun of himself looking like a high school sports coach, he introduced his father in the audience, who genuinely is a high school coach. He talked about his mother, also in attendance, and their family’s history with Down syndrome, including that they opened a coffee shop to employ the developmentally disabled.

Some jokes fell flat – especially one where he calls his niece out for having Down syndrome – and the audience response was largely tepid, leading to the rueful observation, “I don’t have any material that can be on TV.”

Saturday at 11:40 pm in front of a live audience is a hell of a time to figure that out.

Watch the monologue above, then weigh in on this weekend’s SNL hosted by Shane Gillis and featuring musical guest 21 Savage.

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