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Shane Gillis Returns To SNL, Corporate Press Pans Performance

'Look, I don’t have any material that can be on TV, alright?'

Shane Gillis Returns To SNL, Corporate Press Pans Performance

The corporate press panned Shane Gillis' return to Saturday Night Live (SNL) and threw criticism toward material in his opening monologue.

Gillis was infamously fired from SNL just days after the sketch-comedy program hired him as a cast member for the show's 2019-2020 season over resurfaced racial jokes from a 2018 podcast.

On Saturday, the comedian hosted SNL and jokingly told the audience, "If you don't know who I am, please don't Google that." Gillis also delivered a series of edgy jokes about his family and people with Down syndrome, at times noting he was aware the audience was uncomfortable with his material.

“I thought it was great, never mind,” he joked. “Thought that was gonna be a big hit here.”


Gillis then joked about every little boy being their mom's "gay best friend."

"I was gay for my mom," he said. "She would pick me up from school. I'd hop in the van, I'd be like, 'Girl, tell me about your day!'"

"Like most men, I know exactly when me and my mom stopped being friends. It was the first time I whacked off," Gillis joked.

Gillis then repeated a joke about looking like someone with Down syndrome, which he first delivered in his 2023 Netflix special, Shane Gillis: Beautiful Dogs.

"Look, I don’t have any material that can be on TV, alright?" Gillis joked, noting the audience appeared uncomfortable at his material. "This place is extremely well-lit. I can see everyone not enjoying it."

The comedian then joked about people with Down syndrome along with his niece, who is afflicted with the condition.

"They're doing better than everybody I know," he joked. "They're the only ones having a good time pretty consistently."

"They're not worried about the election. They're having a good time," he quipped.

Gillis detailed the rest of his niece's family, which included three adopted black brothers along with an Egyptian father, saying it was "like getting in the craziest Uber pool you've ever been in."

"I would say when my niece is in like fifth [or] sixth grade out at recess some white kids out there is like, 'Hey, you're not allowed to play with us, you're retarded,'" Gillis said. "And then three black kids come flying out of nowhere and just start wailing on that cracker."

The corporate press criticized Gillis' performance following the broadcast.

"Anyone who thought comic Shane Gillis would emerge confident and defiant, hosting Saturday Night Live nearly five years after he was fired from the cast amid a backlash over racist and transphobic jokes, had to be a little disappointed with his monologue last night," reads an op-ed from NPR, which insisted Gillis "struggled" through his monologue. "As the monologue wore on, Gillis seemed increasingly uncomfortable."

"Gillis may be attempting something that's increasingly tough to do in a media world where every podcast and standup gig is recorded and uploaded somewhere – talking to his core audience in a way that is more explicit and button-pushing than the comedy he offers for a more general audience, like his Netflix special or Saturday Night Live," the op-ed continued.

CNN, The Daily Beast, and Page Six similarly took issue with Gillis' performance and suggested he "bombed" his opening monologue.

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