Headline RoundupFebruary 26th, 2024

Does Shane Gillis’s Hosting of SNL Signify a Cultural Sea Change?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Comedian Shane Gillis, who was fired from SNL in 2019 over a joke he previously made on a podcast, hosted the show on Saturday, drawing media perspectives.

Bigotry Sells: Dean Obeidallah of CNN (Left Bias) emphasized much of Gillis’s comedy being “off-base” and “offensive” toward marginalized groups and pitched the idea that former President Donald Trump is responsible for the "coarsening of our social and cultural norms." Obeidallah conceded that “comedians should never be held to the same standard as politicians,” but that they are not “immune” from criticism either, and Gillis’s widespread success proves that “bigotry” is “lucrative.”

Meh: Zach Vasquez, writing for The Guardian (Left bias) described Gillis’s comic persona as “that of a meat-headed conservative bro” but argued his material “more often than not ridicules that demographic, and with far sharper accuracy than ostensibly left-leaning comedy (including and especially SNL).” Vasquez said Gillis didn’t bomb nor kill, and considering the amount of “heated online discourse” leading up to it, “it’s hard to imagine anyone feeling strongly about this episode one way or another.”

Culture Is Healing: Tom Slater of Spiked (Lean Right bias) said, “Gillis’s fall and rise is a reminder of how brutal cancel culture can be – and how spectacularly it can backfire.” He argued Gillis triumphed because he “refused to issue a groveling apology (or) refashion himself as a conservative culture warrior.” Slater also praised Gillis’s balanced political approach to comedy and said the “old gatekeepers” are realizing they’re not nearly as influential as they once were and need talents like Gillis more than the talents need them.

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