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'SNL' host Shane Gillis addresses being fired as a cast member: 'Don't look that up'

Shane Gillis during promos for "Saturday Night Live."
Shane Gillis during promos for "Saturday Night Live."

More than four years after he was fired from "Saturday Night Live" for racist comments, Shane Gillis returned to the show on Saturday, urging viewers not to look into the reason he was terminated before his first day on the job.

The comedian served as "SNL" host on Feb. 24 after being fired as a cast member in 2019. Gillis referenced this at the top of his monologue, although without clueing viewers into the fact that offensive, racist comments sparked his ouster.

"Most of you probably have no idea who I am," he said. "I was actually fired from this show a while ago, but don't look that up, please. If you don't know who I am, please, don't Google that. It's fine. Don't even worry about it."


He added, "I probably shouldn't be up here, honestly."

Gillis was hired as an "SNL" cast member in 2019 but was fired days later before appearing in a single episode. At the time, he faced backlash over a 2018 podcast clip where he used an anti-Asian slur. Executive producer Lorne Michaels said he hadn't known about the clip when he hired Gillis and thought the language the comedian used was "offensive, hurtful and unacceptable." Gillis said at the time he is a "comedian who pushes boundaries" and would be "happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said."

New 'SNL' member Shane Gillis apologizes for using anti-Asian slur in resurfaced video

The rest of Gillis' monologue, during which he also joked that "Every little boy is just their mom's gay best friend" and discussed having family members with Down syndrome, seemed to draw mixed reactions in the room. At one point, Gillis said the studio was so well-lit that he could "see everyone not enjoying" his jokes in the audience.

"This is, you know, just the most nervous I've ever been," he said.

'SNL' fires Shane Gillis over racist comments, four days after hiring him

Gillis also appeared surprised that he didn't get more laughs with a joke about his father, who was in the audience, being a "volunteer assistant girl's high school basketball coach."

"I thought it was funny," Gillis said. "Alright. You don't think that's funny to bring my dad here to make fun of him for being a girl's high school basketball coach? Alright. I thought it was great, never mind. I thought that was going to be a big hit here."

Gillis was hired in 2019 at the same time as Bowen Yang. At the end of the episode, Gillis, who said it "means a lot to me to be here," was seen hugging Yang on stage as the credits rolled.

'SNL' spoofs Donald Trump's gold sneakers

During the rest of the show, Gillis had the chance to show off his Donald Trump impression in a sketch mocking the former president's Trump-branded gold sneakers, which were recently unveiled at a convention in Philadelphia.

In the sketch, a parody movie trailer for a film similar to "Like Mike" called "White Men Can Trump," Gillis played a man who begins looking and acting like Trump after wearing the sneakers.

But rather than making him good at basketball, Gillis' character explains the shoes "gave me the power to say I'm good at basketball, and then double down on that until people actually start to believe it."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shane Gillis addresses his 'SNL' firing in monologue