Andrew Yang is offering to meet with new “Saturday Night Live” cast member Shane Gillis over his use of racist Asian jokes ― including one targeting the Democratic presidential candidate ― and is arguing the comedian shouldn’t be cut from the show.
“I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots. But I’m happy to sit down and talk with you if you’d like,” he wrote in a Saturday tweet responding to a post from Gillis, who was announced earlier this week as one of the program’s latest additions.
Yang, who is Asian, added that rather than penalize Gillis by firing him, he should be shown forgiveness.
“For the record, I do not think he should lose his job,” he said. “We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human.”
On Thursday, just after news broke that Gillis would be an “SNL” regular, freelance comedy reporter Seth Simmons tweeted footage of a 2018 podcast interview in which Gillis uses the slur “chinks” to describe Chinese people and mocks their speech.
Hours after the clip appeared online, drawing backlash, Gillis released a nonapology in which he neglected to unequivocally acknowledge that his remarks were offensive.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries,” he said. “I sometimes miss.”
Continuing, Gillis said he’s “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
“My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
On Friday, Vice reported that Gillis had again used the slur while taking aim at Yang in podcast recorded in May, calling the candidate a “Jew chink.”
Gillis will be one of three new faces on “SNL,” including Bowen Yang, a former staff writer whose promotion makes him the show’s fourth Asian cast member after Nasim Pedrad, who was born in Iran, and Fred Armisen and Rob Schneider, who are of Asian descent.