Saturday Night Live is adding three new cast members for its upcoming 45th season, including the show's only Asian American performer. Previous cast members Fred Armisen and Rob Schneider are both part Asian. Leslie Jones will be leaving the show after five seasons on the show.
The video was initially reported by Variety after freelance writer Seth Simons brought it to their attention. Outside of Studio 8H, he co-hosts the "Las Culturistas" podcast, and has earned fans through oddball videos featuring him expertly lip-syncing dialogue from movies and viral videos. They did not specify which city they were referring to. The milestone, however, has been somewhat tempered: immediately after the news broke, video started circulating of a 2018 podcast episode in which Gillis actively mocks Chinese people, using racial slurs and doing exaggerated imitations of Chinese accents. As of Thursday evening, the audio from the podcast was also still available.
Ottawa-born actress Sandra Oh took on hosting duties in the past season of Saturday Night Live, and remains one of the few with Asian heritage to take the popular stage. He has appeared in HBO's "High Maintenance" and in this year's romantic comedy "Isn't It Romantic?".
Gillis was announced alongside Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, the series' first-ever full-time Asian American performer. The writer/performer popped up on Saturday Night Live a year ago as Kim-Jong un in a sketch with host Sandra Oh.