Saturday Night Live announced earlier this week it signed a comedian named Shane Gillis for its upcoming season and there’s already a lot of backlash.
Like, a lot.
See, Shane’s primary shtick is playing the aggrieved, tough-talking, straight white guy who tells it like it is under the guise of comedy. Though what this consists mainly of is him hurling politically incorrect insults at Asians, women, LBTQ people, Muslims and other straight men he thinks are too soft because they’re either too depressed or too PC-acting for his tastes.
Though I’ve never seen Shane live I’ve listened to about an hour of his comedy from various clips and podcasts (Note: Some of which he tried to scrub from the Internet but have since resurfaced. Let that be a lesson to all of us).
Suffice it to say, they’re peppered with bon mots like:
White chicks are literally the bottom of the comedy chain,
Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard are f-cking gayer than ISIS and white faggot comics and,
Heavily accented imitations of chinks in Chinatown (Note: Not since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast and Tiffany’s) as well as numerous references to chink food.
Yup, Shane’s clearly got a comic persona.
But he doesn’t present as a caricature of machismo like, say, Andrew Dice Clay or in the category of smarmy walking/talking radio id like Howard Stern did back in his shock jock days.
Instead, Shane simply comes across as, well, one of the boys. The type of guy that hangs out at comedy clubs and bars, stays for drinks afterwards and has opinions, lots of opinions.
His delivery isn’t unusually exaggerated nor does it feel drunk or even particularly ranting. Rather, he seems to mean every single thing he is saying, and not in an Andy Kaufman-esque, are you putting me on way.
It makes one wonder, what is the stuff he’s choosing not to say and would I be safe if a guy like that became popular and got in the White House?
The question now is, what are we (and NBC) to do with our fellow traveler Shane?
Object too strenuously to him and we’re accused of being the freedom-hating censors that we claim to loathe and resent. We can’t take a joke and we’re humorless, unless of course the joke is on anybody but us.
Yet if we simply stay quiet and let the free market dictate Shane’s fate we are denying ourselves our first amendment right to speak up and out about that which we are aggrieved by. And history shows that for those of us who are NOT in the straight white male majority no good can come of that (or us). Reverting to silence and behaving is how our nightmare started to begin with.
So, what’s a double minority like the Chair to do?
What’s any minority to do?
Heck, what are the straight white guys who DO NOT share Shane’s aggrieved view of the world, nor think it’s particularly funny, to do other than think to themselves that these days THEY just might be the most aggrieved minority of us all because they can’t complain about anything to anyone out loud anymore and NOT be called on the carpet by EVERYONE except Shane, et al, for it?
Well after some thought I, for one, think we should just let Shane be Shane on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and see what happens to him in our 2019 social media infested world.
Allow him to stew for a while in the town square of Twitter. Give him and the SNL writing team time to work up his first couple of mini-appearances on NBC late night and see if any of those routines get more hits than the racist ones already existing on YouTube.
Then…let’s see if, in turn, he gets invited to the White House. Or, better yet winds up there some years later by some fluke of electoral fiat via social media platform performance.
What, it’s happened before to the unlikeliest of NBC stars?
But this time we’ll be ready.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Right now Shane is merely a rookie member of the group formerly known as The Not Ready For Prime Time Players. It takes at least a full season to be bumped up to first string and, well, who knows where we’ll all be by then.
UPDATE!! Welp, Shane was fired... so I guess…