Leslie Jones said in a recent NPR interview (via The Daily Beast) that “Saturday Night Live” turned her into a loud caricature of herself, although she was blatantly aware that would happen given the mechanics of the NBC sketch comedy show. Jones was an “SNL” writer and cast member from 2014 to 2019, earning two Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series.
“I’ve been doing comedy so long, it’s like, I know what I am,” Jones said. “At ‘SNL,’ they take that one thing and they wring it. They wring it because that’s the machine. So whatever it is that I’m giving that they’re so happy about, they feel like it’s got to be that all the time, or something like that.”
“So it was, like, a caricature of myself, you know what I’m saying?” Jones continued. “So it was like, now either I’m trying to love on the white boys or beat up on the white boys, or I’m doing something just, like, loud. I knew once I did these things, though—I knew it was going to happen, because I know the power of them.”
Jones does not hold that against “SNL” and remembered a retired cast member telling her that’s what the show does to all of its performers.
“I look back and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s right, Taran Killam!’” she said. “Taran wanted to do so much other stuff, but they would only have Taran in those very masculine [roles] and singing and stuff and I said, ‘Oh! This is a machine.’”
Jones also stressed she has nothing but “love” for creator Lorne Micheals.
As she said: “In his defense, I used to always be like, ‘He’s a puppet master. So he has to make the cast happy, he has to make the writers happy. He has to make the WGA happy. He has to make NBC happy. Then he has to make a family in Omaha, Nebraska, who’s watching the show happy.’ Imagine the strings that have to go out to him? So it’s a machine that has to work, you know?”
Since leaving “SNL,” Jones has hosted “Supermarket Sweep” and appeared in Prime Video’s “Coming 2 America” and Max’s comedy series “Our Flag Means Death.” She been making the press rounds this month in support of her new memoir, “Leslie F*cking Jones,” which is now available for purchase.