Video Shows Shane Gillis Drinking Beer Moments Before SNL Debut

Few stars have made their SNL hosting debut with the kind of anticipation and scrutiny that greeted Shane Gillis last night, so what was the controversial comedian doing in the moments before stepping out to deliver his opening monologue?

He was taking a sip of liquid courage, naturally.

In a behind the scenes video live-streamed by the show on YouTube Saturday night (and captured by an enterprising Redditor), Gillis is seen backstage preparing to deliver his opening monologue. In a moment familiar to anyone who’s seen live comedy (or an episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel), at one point he reaches out for a bottle of beer and drinks from it.

Gillis can’t be blamed for being a bit nervous ahead of his 8H debut. The comedy world has been abuzz anticipating his appearance, which comes five years after he was briefly hired to be an SNL cast member, only to be fired four days later after past racist and homophobic jokes surfaced online.

He apologized at the time, but earlier this week in the lead-up to his SNL return, Gillis was accused of platforming holocaust deniers and making antisemitic jokes himself on his popular podcast.

As LateNighter’s Bill Carter writes in his review of last night’s episode, the pressure on the comic was evident as he delivered his opening monologue. Whether he killed or not appears to be in the eye of the beholder. Gillis fans and at least two of his former SNL castmates — Jay Pharoah and Melissa Villaseñor — praised his performance, but Gillis himself seemed to suggest that the studio audience was less than enthusiastic

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