New “Saturday Night Live” cast member Shane Gillis gave a halfhearted apology on Thursday for his racist Asian jokes and a slur in a recently resurfaced video.
The jokes were particularly painful because the stand-up comedian is one of a trio of new cast members to join the program, alongside Bowen Yang, the third person of Asian descent to make it to “SNL’s” full cast in the show’s 45-season history.
Gillis, who is white, tweeted that he was “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
Freelance comedy reporter Seth Simons posted footage Thursday containing offensive language in which Gillis mocks Chinese people, calling them “chinks,” and says it bothers him when Asian people try to learn English. In the video, Gillis calls his digs “nice racism, good racism.”
On Twitter Thursday, the comedian described himself as a “comedian who pushes boundaries,” conceding: “I sometimes miss.” His “intention,” Gillis added, is “never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
Twitter users were incredulous that Gillis would consider his run-of-the-mill mockery boundary-pushing. Responses to his tweet Thursday were harsh.