The biggest story in comedy the past week has been the firing of Shane Gillis from Saturday Night Live.
A quick recap. On Thursday of last week, Gillis was named one of the new cast members hired by Saturday Night Live. Hours later, some past comments he made went viral where he used outdated and offensive terms for Chinese people and homophobic slurs. This was only made worse by the fact that on the same day he was hired, SNL also hired the first ever Asian cast member in 44 years, who also happens to be gay. By Monday, Gillis was let go from the show.
On his show Lights Out with David Spade, Spade opted to sit this one out and let his guests, comedians Bill Burr and Jim Jefferies, comment on the controversy.
“Well this is just cancel culture,” says Jefferies. “The guy shouldn’t have been fired. It’s just a couple things back in his history. Are we going to go through everyone’s history?”
”Did they go back and try to look for good things that the person might have done or are they just looking for the bad stuff,” asks Burr. “Do they just scroll past ‘Helps cat out of a street. That’s not it. Helps grandmother cross the street. That’s not it. Said some things on a podcast. There it is!’”
“Ten or eleven years ago when I came to America, I asked to audition for SNL” adds Jefferies. “And the response I got was ‘No he’s not American.”
Spade finally winds up chiming in on the controversy. “I think when I was young on SNL, when you get hired the first move wasn’t to rifle through your past to make sure you get fired right away.”
Former cast member Rob Schneider was also one of the comedians quick to jump to Gillis’s defense on Twitter.
“Dear Shane Gillis,” Schneider tweeted. “As a former SNL cast member I am sorry that you had the misfortune of being a cast member during this era of cultural unforgiveness where comedic misfires are subject to the intolerable inquisition of those who never risked bombing onstage themselves.”
What do you think? Do you think Gillis was deserving or being fired or was this perhaps a step too far?
Lights Out with David Spade airs Monday through Thursday nights at 11:35 EST/10:35 Central time on Comedy Central.