Shane Gillis Finally Appears on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Finally given the opportunity to take the stage at NBC’s Studio 8H, the comedian Shane Gillis did not say much about how he’d been fired as a cast member from “Saturday Night Live” before appearing in a single episode.

Instead, Gillis, who has since gone on to become a popular standup and podcaster, delivered an opening monologue that perhaps suggested both he and “S.N.L.” were both better off for having followed separate trajectories.

Gillis, who has performed in standup specials like “Beautiful Dogs” on Netflix and is a co-host of “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” was announced to be an “S.N.L.” cast member in September 2019. Just days later, “S.N.L.” reversed course and dropped him from its lineup, following criticism of resurfaced podcast segments in which Gillis used a slur to describe Chinese people and performed a caricature accent, and used a homophobic slur to refer to the filmmaker Judd Apatow and the comedian Chris Gethard, as well as the presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Senator Bernie Sanders.

At the time, “S.N.L.” said in a statement that the language Gillis had used “is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable.” Gillis himself wrote in a social media post that he was “a comedian who pushes boundaries” adding that in comedy, “you’re going to find a lot of bad misses.”

Returning to “S.N.L.” nearly five years later as a guest host, Gillis did not take a scorched-earth approach in his monologue, like when Norm Macdonald appeared as a host in 1999 after he’d been fired from the show. (“I haven’t gotten funnier,” Macdonald said at the time. “The show has gotten really bad.”)

“Yeah, I’m here,” Gillis began. “Most of you probably have no idea who I am. I was actually — I was fired from this show a while ago. But if, you know, don’t look that up, please, if you don’t know who I am. Please, don’t Google that. It’s fine. Don’t even worry about it.”

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