Until it swiftly backfired, the recent hiring of comedian Shane Gillis was an attempt by “Saturday Night Live” to address criticism that the show was biased against conservatives, according to a report.
Sources told Variety that the comedy show’s producers were looking to counteract criticism against the show for its frequent sketches that have been critical of President Trump and members of his administration.
In hiring Gillis, a native of Pennsylvania, the producers went against a tradition of recruiting talent from comedy troupes such as The Groundlings, Second City and The Upright Citizens Brigade and instead relied on portions of Gillis’ stand-up routines in a vetting process that sources described as “severely lacking,” the report said.
It soon emerged that Gillis had used slurs against minorities and made derogatory comments about women and gays in past videos and podcasts.
The comedian offered an apology to anyone offended by his jokes – describing himself as “a comedian who pushed boundaries” -- but the backlash prompted “SNL” to rescind its job offer to Gillis earlier this week.
While some cheered the “SNL” reversal, others railed against what’s called “cancel culture” – a trend of trying to erase or quickly remove any person, thing or idea that has been deemed offensive.
After the Variety story appeared Tuesday, Salon.com writer Mary Elizabeth Williams responded Wednesday by arguing that “SNL” has always been a conservative show despite claims of it having a liberal bias.
“This is a show, after all, that has had Donald Trump as its host twice — including once while he was running for president,” Williams writes. “Other auspicious ‘SNL’ hosts include Andrew Dice Clay, Steven Seagal and Steve Forbes.”
And just last year, she writes, Kanye West appeared on the show wearing a MAGA hat and declaring that “Ninety percent of the news are liberal.”