‘SNL’ May Never Invite Shane Gillis Back After this Controversial Monologue

‘SNL’ May Never Invite Shane Gillis Back After this Controversial Monologue

In the circus of comedy, where the tightrope between genius and garbage is as precarious as a politician’s promise, and the line between hilarious and heinous is as thin as the president’s hairline, Shane Gillis parades as living proof of a cynical maxim:

No comedian is too outrageous — especially when his humor drills through decency to emerge, smirking, on the other side of propriety.

You simply can’t keep a good comedian down. Or can you?

But here is the real question that has emerged following edgy and anti-woke comedian Gillis’s far from politically correct opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend: Will “SNL” invite him back after all he said?

Let’s set the stage: “SNL” decided to invite Gillis to host, despite his previous ousting in 2019 for comments he’d made in 2018 that danced across the spectrum of offensiveness. Truth be told, a tiger doesn’t change its stripes.

During his monologue on Saturday, Gillis was back to telling the same genre of jokes that got him into trouble in the first place when he wound up getting fired just five days after he was hired by “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels.

This time, instead of making jokes about homosexuals and Asians, Gillis made jokes about his firing from the show, the moment he stopped being best friends with his mom (if you haven’t seen the monologue, don’t ask), a niece who has Down syndrome, and more.

Gillis’ Saturday appearance on “SNL” has reignited a debate that’s as old as comedy itself: How far is too far?

Gillis’ plea to the audience to avoid Googling his past was a master class in reverse psychology, serving as a stark reminder that in the realm of comedy, the best defense is a good offense.

He was likely getting ahead of the curve ball he knew the mainstream media would be throwing his way upon hearing his highly non-PC monologue and digging up his past.

And he was right. The attacks are coming in.

(“Much of it felt like Gillis’ attempt to insulate himself from criticism and avoid any jokes that could revive the backlash,” NPR TV critic Eric Deggans wrote, under the headline “Shane Gillis struggles in a ‘Saturday Night Live’ monologue which avoids the obvious.”)

In fact, by urging the audience not to Google his past, he not only preempted the inevitable media backlash but also highlighted the absurdity of cancel culture and the current state of comedy.

The rise of cancel culture and wokeness over the past few years has resulted in a sort of silencing of those who dare speak offensive thoughts that Americans are sometimes thinking, but don’t have the audacity to say out loud. This hasn’t stopped Gillis from expressing what’s on his mind, much to the outgrage of others.

This is in no way an endorsement of Gillis’ raunchy comedic style. It’s simply that the irony of  “SNL’s” situation is almost too rich to ignore.

In the show’s quest for a diversity of voices, it’s managed to elevate a voice that, by its own previous admission, had crossed lines of decency and respect.

It’s as if, in its attempt to be inclusive, “SNL” has included the very perspective it once deemed too offensive; a decision that, by all accounts, seems to fly in the face of the show’s previous stance on inclusivity and sensitivity.

In a world increasingly dominated by woke sensibilities, Gillis stands as a defiant reminder that comedy, in its purest form, is meant to push boundaries and provoke thought.

The rise of cancel culture has indeed led to a chilling effect on comedic expression.

Comedians, once celebrated for their ability to speak truth to power through humor, now find themselves navigating a minefield of potential offenses. As far back as 2015, as Entertainment Week reported at the time, comedy superstar Jerry Seinfeld was avoiding college campus shows because students had been infected with the virus of political correctness.

Gillis’s performance on “SNL”, then, is not just a reflection of his personal comedic style but a commentary on the state of comedy itself.

In inviting Gillis back, “SNL” has inadvertently opened a Pandora’s box of ethical and philosophical questions.

Is the platform endorsing his views, or is it merely providing a stage for a diversity of opinions, however controversial they may be?

And more importantly, does the inclusion of such perspectives enrich the comedic discourse, or does it serve to alienate and offend?

As we ponder these questions, it’s essential to remember that comedy, at its core, is a reflection of society.

It holds up a mirror to our virtues and vices, our absurdities and our truths. In the case of Shane Gillis, “SNL” has presented us with a mirror that many may find uncomfortable to gaze into.

Yet, it’s a mirror that reflects a reality we cannot ignore — a reality where comedy and controversy are inextricably linked.

Regardless of what might come in the future, Gillis’s appearance on Saturday has served as a catalyst for a much-needed conversation about the boundaries of comedy and the role of comedians in challenging societal norms.

So, will “SNL” invite him back? Considering the obvious defiance of his monologue, that may never happen.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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