Shane Gillis Struggles Through ‘Saturday Night Live’ Monologue

Comedian and podcaster Shane Gillis made a strong effort in his return to Studio 8H on Saturday night, but as he acknowledged through his nearly 10 minutes on stage, many of his jokes didn’t quite land with the live audience — probably because much of his popular routine is not network TV-friendly.

Gillis, who hosts the wildly popular Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, returned to Saturday Night Live as its host five years after he was fired from the cast. In 2019, the 36-year-old was abruptly sacked when racist and homophobic jokes he made on his show surfaced.

His return to the long-running late-night series after losing one of the most sought-after gigs in comedy, started out rough, making those TV spots for his hosting debut prescient. Gillis opened with a nod to his history at the show, telling the audience not to Google it — and said he probably shouldn’t be on the famous stage anyhow.

“I should be a high school football coach,” he joked. “Like, God molded me perfectly to be a high school football coach/ninth-grade sex education teacher.”

Gillis’ initial laughs faded quickly, though, as he pointed out his parents in the studio’s balcony, who were in New York to watch him host. He revealed that his father is, in fact, a coach himself in the comic’s Pennsylvania hometown. A volunteer assistant girls high school basketball coach, that is — a fact that he finds incredibly funny but the audience decidedly did not.

“I thought it was funny, alright,” he says to crickets. “You don’t think it’s funny to bring my dad here to make fun of him for being a girl’s high school basketball coach? I thought it was great. Never mind!”

Gillis then moved on to his mother, who he decided not to make fun of, (mercifully). Yet more jokes came quick as he explained the moment that his close relationship with her as a boy came to an abrupt end the moment he discovered masturbation.

“Do you remember that, when you were a little boy?” he asked. “Do you like, you love your mom and you thought she was cool? Do you remember when you were gay? Just a gay little boy… He’s just a mom’s gay best friend.”

Gillis seemed slightly nervous as the laughs from the audience dwindled further as he began to segue into jokes referencing disabilities.

“My niece has Down syndrome, and I thought that was gonna get a bigger laugh!” he says. 

It did get a few laughs, but… oof. To be fair to Gillis, this type of humor has made his show the most subscribed-to podcast on Patreon. But as he and SNL’s producers know, it wasn’t ready for prime time — and perhaps it may not be ready for late-night TV, either. 

The comedian made his hosting debut on the sketch comedy show with musical guest 21 Savage, who was also appearing on SNL for the first time.

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