In case you haven’t heard, a new comedian was hired by Saturday Night Live.
In case you haven’t heard, a new comedian was fired from Saturday Night Live.
That guy was given the boot for, in the words of FastCompany.com, “negative commentary about Asian-Americans.”
Here’s how The Atlantic put it:
“I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.” That was new Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis’s attempt at a mea culpa, posted to Twitter at 10:45 p.m. last night, for the trove of racist and homophobic remarks that was being newly circulated and dissected online hours after his hiring was announced. Even by the standards of the self-serving “phantom apology” many public figures rely on these days, the statement was flimsy. It’s hard to watch the clips in question—including one in which Gillis uses the phrase “f*****g Chinks”—and to then accept the comedian’s explanation that he was merely pushing the boundaries and taking the risks required to create great comedy.
In case it wasn’t clear, nothing in the extended digressions about Chinatown or what counts as (in Gillis’s words) “nice racism” qualifies as great comedy; it doesn’t even rise to the level of intelligible conversation.
Part of the problem, according to Fast Company, may be Donald Trumpish:
Gillis is a man in his early-thirties who came from what he has called a “white trash” town (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) before moving on to Philadelphia and eventually New York. In his recent stand-up, Gillis comes off like a New York naif who sees his bubble-bound neighbors through Trump Country eyes, but is possibly learning a little about himself from them as well. This narrative might have been a line drive of a sitcom pitch for the network that gave Roseanne Barr a show in 2018, but in real life it sort of turned out the same way as that whole mess.
But some people think the firing is pitiful, and one of them’s Norm Macdonald:
“Of course you know, this means WAR.”
of course you know, this means WAR. https://t.co/GMv8xNuvwx
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) September 17, 2019
Norm knows a bit about getting canned for things he’s said: His guest spot on The Tonight Show was removed late last year for displaying empathy toward beleaguered stars Louis C.K. and Roseanne (here).
He’s also a little familiar with getting fired from SNL, as he was yanked from the famed “Weekend Update” segment in the late 90’s.
Norm reached out to Shane directly, with a reference to Seth Simons, the journalist who initially posted Shane’s old jokes:
@Shanemgillis Hey, Shane, I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine how you must feel. The work it takes to get that show and to have it snatched away by some guy who does "Spoken Bird" poetry. Unacceptable. Please DM me, pal, when you have a moment. I'm so sorry.
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) September 16, 2019
today SNL announced the hiring of its first cast member of East Asian descent, and also this guy pic.twitter.com/0FAGJZJUkK
— Seth Simons (@sasimons) September 12, 2019
The outrage machine indeed seems out for comedic blood.
In my opinion, the 1-2 punch against performers at the moment is a combination of A) A generation which doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a joke — that would be, something not meant to be taken seriously — and B) A witch-hunt mentality ready to dig into the past for any infraction.
In his latest Netflix special, Sticks and Stones, Dave Chappelle impersonated the new woke audience:
“If you do anything wrong in your life, and I find out about it, I’m gonna try and take everything away from you. … If I find out, you’re ****ing finished.”
Others are voicing their malcontent over Shane’s firing, including the great Rob Schneider:
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 on stage themselves.
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) September 16, 2019
Congratulations to everyone saying cancel culture isn't real on getting Shane Gillis fired.
— Bridget Phetasy (@BridgetPhetasy) September 16, 2019
Thank God after 9 years of stoically covering entertainment tv, Ryan finds his true calling: getting some guy fired. Congrats Mike! You truly made an impact! https://t.co/8JXl412Xlg
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) September 14, 2019
Shame, shame, shame on @nbcsnl. A tiny bit of courage and they could have defied the mob and let this young man have the career he earned. Shame on the @nytimes and on every leftist moral midget who thinks this is okay. https://t.co/LlF6rgYKKq
— Andrew Klavan (@andrewklavan) September 17, 2019
But some appear glad he was tossed:
As a comedian I usually side with the comedians on sensitive subjects. But this is just plain racist. Its truly disgusting. Standing up against this is just as important as supporting our Asian brothers and sisters. This man has to go @nbcsnl https://t.co/oQS0BgqTbP
— Jimmy O. Yang (@FunnyAsianDude) September 13, 2019
Other users lamented the Woke Age’s state of comedy:
Why would anyone even watch SNL any longer?
— ILCON (@T_OutdoorGoods) September 15, 2019
When Chevy Chase John Belushi Dan Aykroyd Jane Curtin they really new comedy Saturday Night Live is just a sad joke of the day just more of the democratic liberal supported media
— Beverly Thomas (@Beverly71058761) September 17, 2019
I’m so sick of people being offended
— Michelle Keys (@MikieK) September 14, 2019
How many stars would never have made it, if such rules had been applied in the past?
Multiple tweeters pointed to one of the greatest stars to come out of SNL:
Eddie Murphy would have never made it in these times
— Troy Bowers (@bowerstroym) September 14, 2019
— jon w (@jonwins) September 15, 2019
I think they’re right. The mob is raging. And it only seems to be getting angrier as it goes.
Putting the issue of Shane’s particular words aside, if it continues, eventually, comedy’s gonna be a joke.
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