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September 19, 2019

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips Shane Gillis: 'Desperately unfunny' jokes were 'dripping with flop sweat'

The Pennsylvania comedian was hired, and fired, by SNL in a span of days for using racist and homophobic slurs

Television Comedy
Shane Gillis Andrew Yang Comedy Central Stand-Up/YouTube

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has responded to videos of comedian and new SNL hire Shane Gillis, seen above, using racist language, including anti-Asian slurs.

NBA legend and current cultural commentator Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – who is apparently also a contributing editor to The Hollywood Reporter – published a scorching op-ed for THR on Thursday about Shane Gillis.

Gillis, if you missed his whirlwind week, is a comedian and Pennsylvania native who was hired by SNL for the show's 45th season, and then promptly fired two days later when videos and podcasts surfaced featuring Gillis using racist and homophobic slurs.

Abdul-Jabbar didn't find Gillis's use of slurs funny, and the six-time NBA champion didn't hold back:

"It’s tempting to open this column by repeating Shane Gillis’ homophobic, anti-Asian and misogynistic slurs that got him fired from Saturday Night Live to show just how desperately unfunny, derivative and dripping with flop sweat they are."

Throughout the column, Abdul-Jabbar examines Gillis's jokes from a critical perspective, and also his response to criticism about the jokes. Abdul-Jabbar, ultimately, came away unimpressed:

"Gillis’ justification that to be the best he must take risks is what every chef, singer, fashion designer, etc., who competes on a reality show trots out to excuse their failures. Racism isn’t an artistic risk, it’s just an expression of cultural ignorance and professional laziness."

Abdul-Jabbar's takes are fair, even as some comedians (mostly white males) rushed to Gillis's defense, like legendary SNL writer and actor Norm Macdonald:

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang also chimed in last week, offering to meet with Gillis about the jokes, specifically the jokes making fun of Asian people:

In a later tweet, Yang confirmed Gillis had reached out about a potential sit-down.

Yang, however, has more pressing things to worry about than one comedian being fired for saying racist things: He should be thinking about his cheesesteak preferences.

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