Comedian Shane Gillis will perform at the BMO Center on Friday, June 14, 2024, in Rockford. (Photo provided by ASM Rockford)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Tickets to see comedian Shane Gillis perform at the BMO Center this summer sold out before sales even opened to the general public.

The stand-up comedian and podcaster, who is hosting Saturday Night Live this week, sold out tickets within an hour of pre-sale opening on Thursday, according to ASM Rockford, which manages the venue and books the shows.

“I don’t believe any show has ever sold out in the pre-sale in Rockford,” said Doug Johnson, regional director of ASM Global and the assistant general manager of ASM Rockford.

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There were more than 7,300 tickets snapped up within the hour of pre-sale opening, Johnson said. Tickets were to go on sale to the general pubic today. He is slated to perform June 14.

Johnson said the fastest sellouts he can recall aside from Gillis were when Zac Brown came here in 2016 and Kane Brown toured here in 2019.

“Shane Gillis is probably the hottest comic out there right now and he is hosting Saturday Night Live this week. It was an amalgamation of a few things,” Johnson said.

Gillis is hosting SNL after being fired as a cast member in 2019 — before he ever made his debut — over his use of an Asian slur and homophobic jokes on his podcast.

He built a following on his own after that, leaning into the idea that he was a “canceled” comedian and playing with sensitive topics on stage. He released his first stand-up special in 2021 on YouTube, which has garnered more than 24 million views. Then, last year, he released his special “Beautiful Dogs” on Netflix.

He also became a regular on mega-podcasts such as “The Joe Rogan Experience” and Barstool Sports “KFC Radio.”

The fan club pre-sale for Gillis’s show didn’t hold any tickets back for the general public, which many promoters don’t do, Johnson said.

“It was an interesting day around here. My box office manager came to me right away and said, ‘you’ve got to see this,'” Johnson said. “It’s extremely fun to watch those things happen in real time.”

Johnson said comedy has proved to be a big draw in the Rockford region.

Gillis is here the same night as comedian Kevin James, who will perform just down the road at the Coronado Performing Arts Center. ASM Rockford books shows for both venues. Nate Bargatze is coming to the BMO Center on May 17, which Johnson said is nearing a sellout, and Brad Williams is performing at the Coronado that same night.

“All four of the shows are doing wonderful,” Johnson said.

Bert Kreischer also sold out when he came to the BMO last March.

“We’re getting major promoters, obviously, to look at the region again,” Johnson said.

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Johnson said he can’t comment on whether there is a discussion about adding a second show.

“I’m not at liberty to say if I’ve discussed it or not, but I’m always in those type of conversations,” Johnson said. “If I could get him, I’d take three shows. This guy is just hot.”

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on X at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas and Threads @thekevinhaas

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