Shane Gillis Bounced Back From ‘S.N.L.’ Debacle. On Saturday, He’ll Host.

When the comedian Shane Gillis was dropped from “Saturday Night Live” in 2019 just days after the announcement that he’d been added to the Season 45 cast, he lost one of the most sought-after jobs in comedy. Immediately after his addition to the cast, multiple instances surfaced of him using language that the show called “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable” in a statement addressing his ouster.

Among the inflammatory language he’d used, on his podcast and on others, was a slur to refer to Chinese people, along with a caricature accent, and a homophobic slur, which he used to describe the filmmaker Judd Apatow and the comedian Chris Gethard as well as the Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Senator Bernie Sanders (the latter two prefaced with the word “Jew”). “Fat, ugly idiots promoting hate, that’s what this is,” he said, ribbing himself and those with whom he was talking.

Gillis could have become a pariah. Instead, on Saturday, he’ll make his debut on NBC’s storied Studio 8H stage, as a host.

Since his firing, Gillis’s star has quickly ascended: His debut special, released on YouTube in 2021, has amassed about 24 million views; and his podcast with Matt McCusker, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” on which some of the problematic statements were made, has the most subscribers of any podcast on Patreon with more than 80,000 paying listeners, tens of thousands more than the next highest. He has also been touring rigorously, performing on comedy stages across the United States and the world.

He reached new heights in September with the release of Netflix’s “Beautiful Dogs,” which had a lengthy run on the streamer’s Top 10 most popular shows list. In that special, he walked the line between satirizing conservatives and playing to them, according to The New York Times’s comedy critic, Jason Zinoman, who described its opening bit as “dumb and smart, cocky and self-mocking, homophobic but relentlessly self-aware.”

“Don’t be surprised if he becomes an arena act,” Zinoman added.

A few weeks ago, Bud Light announced that it was partnering with Gillis. “Welcome to the team,” the brand posted on Instagram along with a photo of the comedian. Bud Light has been scrambling to contain the fallout, which included plummeting sales, from last year’s right-wing backlash to Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer, promoting the beer on Instagram.

Related Articles

Back to top button