9/16/19 UPDATE: As of September 16, Saturday Night Live has announced that Shane Gillis will no longer be joining the cast.
Newly anointed Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis called Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang a "Jew c---k" in a podcast episode recorded in May of this year. The episode of Real Ass Podcast, hosted by comedians Luis J. Gomez and Zac Amico, was previously accessible in a YouTube video that has since been made private. The episode's audio, however, is still available online.
Gillis's hiring as one of SNL's new featured players was announced on Thursday. He came under fire within hours over racist and homophobic slurs in episodes of his own podcast, co-hosted with Matt McCusker, recorded last year. He released a statement that night describing himself as "a comedian who pushes boundaries" but sometimes misses. "I'm happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said," Gillis wrote. "My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks."
Gillis took several of those "risks" in the Real Ass Podcast episode, number 402, recorded on Memorial Day 2019. The reference to Yang revolves around a callback to a moment earlier in the episode, around 46 minutes and 30 seconds in. In that segment, Gomez riffs about a candy he describes as a small wax bottle containing an unsatisfying amount of sweet liquid (he appears to be describing the Nik-L-Lip). "What a fuckin' scam that was," he says. He starts to say, "whoever came up with that is the—" when Gillis jumps in and says "c----s." The entire group—Gomez, Amico, Gillis, and comic Mike Figs—appears to erupt in laughter, and one of the comics sings "ch-ch-ch-chi-ch-c----s" over a drum sting. "Shane Gillis crushing it with a one-word racist punchline," Gomez says. "One of my favorites."
Gillis's subsequent use of the slur occurs around one hour and six minutes into the episode. The comics are riffing about Bernie Sanders, whom Gillis describes as Mario to Dick Cheney's Wario. The riff descends into awkwardness, and Gillis says his Wario joke was the best joke of the episode. Gomez responds, "your c---k line was 40 times better." Some cross-talk ensues in which Gillis remarks on his frequent use of that slur, before directing it to Sanders: "That Jew c---k? Commie Jew c---k? Next, please, next. Gimme your next candidate, Dems. Jew c---k, next. Actually, they are running a Jew c---k—Chang, dude." Then the conversation turns to author and life coach Tony Robbins.
These were not the only instances of hateful language directed toward Asian people in the episode. About an hour in, the group prepares for a segment in which they watch a random podcast; in this case, their producer has chosen the video podcast "Make Money Travel Blogging Featuring Jacob Fu." Upon learning the name, the group, led by Gillis, breaks out into exaggerated Chinese accents. When the video starts playing, Gillis exclaims, "I was making fun of these guys for being Asian—they're so hot. Look at these hot guys, dude… he speaks so much better than all of us." He chides one of his fellow comics to stop speaking in a mocking accent. "Now it's very racist. These guys speak great, they're handsome… Those are nice handsome boys having fun."
Then Gillis appears to start describing the group. "Fat ugly idiots promoting hate, that's what this is," he says. "That's what this is?" Gomez responds. "Yeah, look at all of us," Gillis says. "We're all shitty people. At least those Asians were having fun."
VICE has reached out to Gillis and NBC for comment.