Seconds into his first Saturday Night Live opening monologue nearly five years after being fired from the show for his racist and homophobic slurs on his podcast, stand-up comedian Shane Gillis opened the old jar of misfires. “I was actually – fired from this show a while ago. But, you know. Don’t look that up, please. If you don’t know who I am, please don’t Google that,” began the comic.

Shane Gillis returns to Saturday Night Live after being fired from the show nearly five years on receiving backlash for using racist and homophobic slurs.(YouTube / SNL)
Shane Gillis returns to Saturday Night Live after being fired from the show nearly five years on receiving backlash for using racist and homophobic slurs.(YouTube / SNL)

While playfully taking a jab at the controversy, he remarked how fitting it would be for him to have been a high school football coach, given the perpetuating vocally violent stereotype about the character. “Thought that was going to be a big hit here”, added Gillis after an opening joke. And ironically enough, that set the tone for the Shane Gillis SNL comeback.

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Soon drifting from the controversial backlash that got him axed from the show, he quickly switched lanes to set the comic tone ahead. In certain moments, you catch him stuttering, almost fearing another interjection, and then continuing in his self-aware, self-deprecative way: “Look, I don’t have any material that can be on TV, all right?”

He played on familiar notes that people with Down Syndrome are some of the happiest people he knows (some being his relatives), similar to his reference to the case in his 2023 Netflix special, Beautiful Dogs.

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Netizens react to Shane Gillis’ SNL comeback after 5 years

The content is overtly toned down from what his fanbase may be accustomed to. On the other hand, the unversed, who’ve encountered him for the first time, may wonder why SNL headlines were brimming with his name these past weeks before his final re-introduction to the show. The internet’s Shane Gillis SNL reviews are evidently a mixed bag of confusion.

While his fans are off celebrating that he’s finally back and has seemingly made ‘America great again’, the other side is still perplexed about the fuss.

Positive reviews:

Some netizens admitted to noticing how played down his comedic content was. Yet the other side just had fun with him on stage.

“That was the best monologue on SNL in over 20 years. It’s not even a debate,” said one comment under the SNL tweet.

A Twitterati added: “Solid even though you can tell it was SUPER toned down.” A second person who noticed his nervousness said, “Uncomfortably funny but funny.”

More appreciation poured in with comments like: “Man he didn’t sacrifice his material at all. Good on him for not shying away and just letting it rip. I can’t remember the last time I watched SNL until last night.” and “About time that man got his seat at the top table.”

Negative reviews:

A commenter recalled the past and wrote: “This man is garbage! Could’ve found someone else instead. There’s a very good reason he was fired. He sucks!”

Another X (formerly Twitter) comment agreed: “This was so bad”.

More users chimed in, “Shame on snl for having such an unfunny and frankly upsetting guy like this on. It’s 2024. Do better @snl.” and “Now I see why he got kicked off the show”. While another reiterated from distant memory: “Isn’t that the racist guy?” and others couldn’t help but call out his mentions of slurs like “re*****d” and “cra***r”.

In addition to opening the show, he starred in several SNL skits of the day including a parody crossover of the movie White Men Can’t Jump featuring Trump’s ‘magical’ golden sneakers and others.



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