Shane Gillis: You Are Cancelled.

Since when did we start calling consequences “Cancel Culture”? I used to say “pi” which is Mandarin for fart, and my mom would slap my hands because it’s a “bad word.” When I was young and I didn’t understand anything, my dad would make sure I never joke about Nazis or Hitler. My sister would repeatedly tell me don’t say “na ge” (Mandarin for that one) weirdly because it can sound like the N word. Growing up in Taiwan, my teachers would always remind us we can’t call natives “fan ren”, which is a derogatory terms for aborigines in Taiwan. Yet, somehow we have “advanced” as a society, where if someone makes outrageous remarks using racial or homophobic slurs, they can or should be forgiven. “Cancel Culture” used to just mean consequences, but now it’s for people to get their second chances - but if you’re unapologetic, should you get those? 

Just recently, Shane Gillis, along with two other comedians, was announced to be apart of SNL’s new cast. People lauded SNL for hiring Bowen Yang, who was the first full Asian man, who is also gay, they’ve ever hired. But on the other hand, people found videos of Gillis using racial and homophobic slurs against Asians on his very own podcast. And this was in 2018. Gillis tweeted his unapologetic “apology,” where he essentially uses the “comedians push boundary” excuse to defend his “jokes.” Cancel Culture used to being consequences is one thing, but since when did jokes stop being funny? I’m still wrapping my head around what “boundaries” he was pushing because the slurs he was using were century-old. At least come up with some new slurs - amirite? 

 Quite frankly, I’m just tired of Asians being the butt of the joke. Somehow we are always the ones taking the shots, left and right, because “we won’t retaliate” or “they’re just so quiet” or “they’re such easy targets”! Because if Ali Wong, Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off the Boat, Kim’s Convenience Store, George Takei, Sandra Oh, and many more films and TV shows out there, including SNL’s very own Bowen Yang have shown is that Asians make the jokes now. I also love the irony of hiring Bowen Yang, the first Asian gay man on SNL, and Shane Gillis. It’s almost like there’s this balance that America has to achieve - can’t be too progressive at once. 

Should Gillis have been fired? Yes! Not because he makes racist not-funny “jokes,” but because he doesn’t realize how distasteful they were in his horrible apology. This is called accountability, something parents love teaching their children, and yet somehow now this is Cancel Culture. How can SNL, a show that prides on making bold, controversial sketches that “push boundaries” hire someone who still dwells in those archaic slurs? It would’ve been nice, however, to see Gillis and Yang share a skit, where Yang teaches Gillis how to make funny jokes not at the expense of other races or social groups. 

 But why should Gillis also be fired? Because he was just not funny.