Shane Gillis’ SNL Comeback: A Humorous Return to the Stage

Stand-up comedian Shane Gillis marked his debut on Saturday Night Live this weekend. The 36-year-old comedian hosted the show for the first time, with rapper 21 Savage as the musical guest. Gillis’ hosting stint comes five years after his invitation to join the show’s cast was rescinded in 2018 due to racially-charged remarks on his podcast.

Shane Gillis' SNL Comeback: A Humorous Return to the Stage

In his opening monologue, Gillis humorously addressed his past dismissal, stating, “I was actually, I have fired from this show a while ago,” and playfully urged the audience not to look it up. He continued by jesting about his suitability for being on stage, suggesting he might be better off as a “home” or “a high school football coach,” claiming it’s his “true calling.”

Gillis elaborated on his family background, sharing his father’s role as a volunteer assistant girls’ high school basketball coach. Throughout the monologue, he touched on personal topics such as his relationship with his mom and discussed family members with Down’s Syndrome.

The show featured various skits, including one where Gillis portrayed an unfortunate basketball player transformed by a pair of Donald Trump’s gold sneakers. Instead of enhancing his playing skills, the sneakers gave him an attitude to persuade others of his beliefs, even if they weren’t true.

In another sketch about workplace behavior, Gillis played a creepy employee alongside Bowen Yang, Kenan Thompson, and Chloe Fineman. The episode showcased Gillis’ versatility in comedic roles.

Back in 2019, SNL announced Gillis, Bowen Yang, and Chloe Fineman as new cast members for its 45th season. However, just days after the announcement, Gillis faced backlash for a 2018 podcast clip containing a racial slur. Despite issuing an apology, SNL decided to revoke its offer, citing his remarks as offensive and unacceptable.

Gillis, expressing respect for the decision, went on to co-host the popular podcast “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” and released a Netflix comedy special titled “Shane Gillis: Beautiful Dogs” in 2023.

21 Savage, the musical guest, delivered performances at 30 Rockefeller, showcasing his songs [TK] and [TK]. Gillis, looking ahead, is scheduled to embark on a series of stand-up shows across North America, commencing at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on March 1. Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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