On the same day Saturday Night Live announced its first Asian cast member in years, a video from 2018 resurfaced that shows another new addition to the show, Shane Gillis, making racist jokes about Chinese people.
“Chinatown’s f—ing nuts,” Gillis says in the clip. “Let the f—ing chinks live there, huh?” He goes on to adopt a stereotypical Chinese accent.
The clip was resurfaced by comedy journalist Seth Simons on Twitter and hails from a September 2018 episode of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, recorded with fellow comedian Matt McCusker. According to Simons, the YouTube page for the episode has been taken down.
Representatives for Gillis and Saturday Night Live did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
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
In the video, Gillis’ remarks come in response to a rant by McCusker about the New York City neighborhood. “I wonder how [Chinatown] started,” McCusker says. “They built one f—ed-up-looking building and people were like, ‘All right, no one said anything?’”
Gillis goes on to talk about dining in Chinese restaurants. “It’s full f—ing Chinese in there,” he says. “And the translation between you and the waiter is such a f—ing hassle, I’m pointing at it,” he says, before impersonating the waiter’s broken English.
Later in the podcast, Gillis says their conversation is “nice racism, good racism.”
this, again, is from September 2018 pic.twitter.com/inYFT22zjl— Seth Simons (@sasimons) September 12, 2019
As pointed out by Vulture, Gillis has a history of making offensive remarks. In another podcast episode, he and McCusker make fun of Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard’s emotionally open style of comedy by calling them homophobic slurs and “f—ing gayer than ISIS.”
The co-owner of a comedy theater in Philadelphia, where Gillis was based through last year, told Vulture they ceased working with him “because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”
On Thursday evening, Gillis addressed the controversy over his remarks on Twitter and defended his use of slurs by saying he is “a comedian who pushes boundaries.” Read his full statement here.
Gillis is one of three new cast members added to SNL on Thursday, the others being Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang. Yang, who is Chinese American, is the show’s first cast member of East Asian descent since Fred Armisen, who is a quarter Korean.
SNL returns Sept. 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.
This article has been updated with new information.