It’s important to press the idea of accountability, but for something people have said in the past? Shane Gillis has managed to get a good deal of support from other comedians after being fired shortly after being hired by Saturday Night Live. It’s funny how SNL think that it’s a show that upholds virtue and good taste at all times, especially when it’s dug into the dirt as much as anyone in comedy throughout the years. SNL is of course a show that thrives on comedy, that’s done a few things throughout the years that some people have looked at and wondered about more than once. Shane Gillis was heard saying a few things that weren’t all that great and were pretty bigoted a while back, but as Mike Jones of ScreenRant has pointed out some of the comedians that have been on SNL in the past have come to defense by stating that comedy has changed throughout the years. Back in the day it never seemed as though a person’s past was going to be ripped apart before they were allowed to step on stage. True, what Shane said on the revealed clip wasn’t all that great, and it likely would have kept him from being hired right away had it been revealed before SNL even took a look at him. But really, axing him when this clip suddenly showed up?
Cancel culture is a term that’s been floating around for a little bit now and it’s been getting worse, kind of like several ideas that haven’t been popular with a lot of people but is still just as negative for its implications. Is there any evidence that Gillis wouldn’t have toed the line upon coming on the show? Was there any evidence that his bigoted words from the clip would have followed him? Or was it an attempt to keep the folks that are bound to bugle their opinions when it was seen that Bowen Yang was also on SNL? The games that have been played thus far when it comes to comedy and what can and can’t be said and what is and isn’t pertinent to the current mood of comedy are at this point enough to make a person groan and pop a few Tylenol. A lot of people would stand openly and state that comedy is all about laughing things off and moving on, even if you don’t agree with them and find some words particularly virulent. Guess what though? Being an adult means you can move on and ignore what you don’t like in this day and age, just like it’s always been.
What Gillis said in the infamous podcast wasn’t right, there’s no defense for this, but considering that it was only a year ago that it was said that made it so accessible. Michael Blackmon of BuzzFeed News has commented on this just as much as anyone has and has at least tried to be fair, but when it comes to comedy and being even-handed the teeter-totter is swaying one way or the other these days and has yet to come to true center. In other words, comedy has become something other than what it was only a short while ago as more and more oversensitive people have chimed in trying to quell what they think is ‘bad comedy’ while doing what they can to keep what they approve on the air. There’s a word for that, but instead of sparking a debate I’d much rather state that Gillis should of at least been given a chance to prove that he could follow the guidelines and do what SNL expected. If everyone was going to be judged on something they’d done or said in the past this world would be a place devoid of opportunity for a large number of people since like it or not, we’ve all said or done something in our lives that we wish we could take back but can’t.
Shane Gillis did manage to say something that was hard if not impossible to defend, that much is true. Sarah Whitten of CNBC has chimed in as well and has made her own opinion known. But if you think there’s never been a person on SNL that hasn’t uttered a racial slur then you might not have been watching the show for a while. If he could toe the line at SNL and keep his language and attitudes curbed then he should have been given an opportunity. Had he walked onto the show and spat out a racial slur here or there then yes, termination would have been entirely justified. Unfortunately SNL is so worried about its precious reputation that’s taken so many hits over the years that taking the chance on someone that they figured must be racist because of a single statement became less than worthwhile. Throughout the years SNL has gone up and down in terms of its reputation, but as of now it’s earned the hit that should hopefully be coming.