Kenan Thompson: ‘Saturday Night Live does not tolerate racism’

Kenan Thompson has praised Saturday Night Live chiefs for sacking newcomer Shane Gillis over his past racist stand-up routines.

Gillis was axed after video of him poking fun at Asians during a stand-up show emerged, with producer Lorne Michaels apologising for failing to vet the funnyman properly.

Asked about the awkward moment for the show, longtime castmember Thompson praised show chiefs for making it clear SNL is no place for racism.


“They put their stamp on there – which everyone would have assumed about SNL anyway – that we don’t tolerate abuse or disrespect of anyone, racial or otherwise. It’s just not conducive to a comedy show,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at an event promoting the tech firm Everfi in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

The star also hailed writer Bowen Yang’s move in front of the camera to become the comedy show’s first Chinese-American castmember in its 45-year history – but added: “I’m just sorry it had to be splashed in drama.”

Thompson also expressed sadness over the departure of Leslie Jones after nearly six years, saying: “She’s one of a kind. I’m going to miss seeing my dear friend.”