According to Decider, the since-deleted video of Gillis contained the Pennsylvania native mocking Chinese accents as well as saying various homophobic slurs.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,’” said a spokesperson for the show at the time. “We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL.”
“The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable,” the statement continued. “We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Had he taken his place in the hallowed halls of “SNL,” Gillies would have starred in the show’s 45th season alongside the funny man Bowen Yang, who is the program’s first gay Asian cast member to join the show.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries,” Gillis said in a statement at the time of his firing. “I sometimes miss. If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses. I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
Since. being fired, Gillis has seen a massive surge in his popularity with a tour around the US and two comedy specials on YouTube and Netflix.
Gillis’ return has been met with mixed reactions.
“Hilarious that y’all fired him five years ago and are now having him host,” one X (formerly Twitter) user posted before adding “not taking a side here it’s just objectively funny.”
“Fulllll circle for Shane,” another person said. “Love to see it.”
“First episode I’ve been excited to watch in close to two decades. Respect,” a third person responded.
Other users were not happy about Gillis’ new gig.
“First you open Ayo Edebiri’s episode with a Nikki Haley cameo and now you invite back the guy you fired five years ago for using racist and homophobic slurs lmao,” one user slammed.
“I had to google who this guy is and uhm…why,” said another.
“Frst chapelle on stage during goodbyes, then a nikki haley pr boost in the cold open, and now this. it’s like they WANT Bowen to end his contract or something,” a third person spat.