Leslie Jones is ready for the next chapter in her life. The comedian will be leaving SNL; she is not returning for its 45th season.
As Deadline notes, it was Jones’ decision to leave SNL early. “The standard SNL cast deals are for seven years but the actors’ options are picked up every year, and the performers also can ask to be released early.”
Jones first joined SNL back in 2014 after coming on board as a writer. She kicked off her TV appearances with a number of stints on “Weekend Update”.
In other interesting SNL news, Kate McKinnon, whose contract was up in May, will be coming back for her eighth season on the show. To date, Jones is the only departure for Season 45 of SNL.
Leslie Jones hails from Memphis, Tennessee. When her family moved to Los Angeles, she worked at the radio station KJLH as an electronics engineer. Jones attended Chapman University on a basketball scholarship and eventually transferred to Colorado State, where she continued playing ball.
It was in college that Jones forayed into the world of stand-up comedy. After winning the “Funniest Person on Campus” contest in college, she left school and moved to LA. There, she honed her skills performing in bars and clubs. In 2013, Jones auditioned for SNL. While she didn’t score the featured player role (that went to Sasheer Zamata), she ended up being hired as a writer on SNL.
In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Jones famously said, “I just like to bring the funny.” She went on to discuss her Emmy nomination for SNL. Asked if she thought, “It’s about time” when she received the Emmy nod, she said, “You think so? Thank you. I was very surprised when they called me with that. Because you’d think it goes to people like Kate and Alec. Me? No. Supporting actors, what? I supported somebody? I don’t support nobody.”
Jones also dished about her personal favorite episode. She said, “Dave Chappelle’s show [the Saturday following the 2016 presidential election] was great. It was really weird how he happened to be there that night. That sketch that he and Chris Rock did — black people watching white people watch the election— is just the most hilarious thing that I have been through. This year I saw another side of white people. They lose their minds completely when it comes to elections.”
As for her film career, Jones has appeared in a number of movies, from Repos to Trainwreck, to Top Five. In 2016, she played Patty Tolan in Ghostbusters, with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon.
Jones is slated to star in Coming 2 America alongside Tracy Morgan, Rick Ross, and KiKi Layne. Her upcoming Netflix special will be produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment and is set for global release next year.