Leslie Jones (comedian)

Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones at The Stress Factory (43785886122).jpg
Jones at the Stress Factory in 2018
Birth nameAnnette Jones
Born (1967-09-07) September 7, 1967 (age 53)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
MediumComedy, television, film
Alma materColorado State University
Years active1987–present
GenresObservational humor, blue comedy, black comedy, physical comedy
Subject(s)African-American culture, everyday life, pop culture, current events
Notable works and rolesFormer Saturday Night Live cast member and writer;
Ghostbusters (2016)
Coming 2 America (2021)

Annette "Leslie" Jones[1][2] (born September 7, 1967) is an American comedian and actress who was a cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live from 2014 to 2019. Jones has been a featured performer at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal and the Aspen Comedy Festival. In 2010, her one-hour comedy special, Problem Child, was broadcast on Showtime. Jones starred in Ghostbusters (2016) as Patty Tolan. In 2017 and 2018, Jones was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Saturday Night Live.

In 2017, Jones was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.[3]

Early life

Jones was born on September 7, 1967, in Memphis, Tennessee.[4] She had a younger brother, Rodney Keith Jones (1971–2009).[citation needed][5] Her father was in the United States Army, and her family relocated frequently.[6] Her family moved to Los Angeles, when her father took a job at Stevie Wonder's radio station, KJLH, as an electronics engineer.[4] Jones attended high school in Lynwood, California, where she also played basketball; her father suggested that she play the sport because she is six feet tall.[7]

Jones attended Chapman University on a basketball scholarship. While initially unsure of what she wanted to study, Jones worked as a disc jockey at the student radio station, KNAB,[8] and contemplated playing professional basketball overseas.[9] When her coach, Brian Berger, left Chapman in 1986 for the head-coaching job at Colorado State University, Jones followed.[1][10][11] Once at Colorado State, Jones contemplated pursuing a pre-law degree,[9] but changed her major several times, including for a time to accounting and computer science, before deciding to major in communication.[8]

Career

Stand-up

Jones began doing stand-up comedy in college in 1987, when a friend signed her up for a "Funniest Person on Campus" contest.[6][9] After winning the contest, Jones left school for Los Angeles.[9] She performed at comedy clubs while working day jobs at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles and UPS[12] to make ends meet. Comedians Mother Love and Dave Chappelle encouraged her to move to New York City to hone her craft for two years, where she appeared on BET's ComicView before returning to Los Angeles.[8] She performed at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, but received unfavorable reviews of her shows there.[8] She then went out on tour, opening for Jamie Foxx where she was booed by his audience. Feeling as though she lacked experience, Jones stopped performing for three years.[8] Fearing that she would only ever be known in African American circles, around 2010 she began to stop playing so called "black clubs"[13] One night, Chris Rock saw her perform and gave her name to several of "the biggest managers in comedy" all of whom "didn't get it".[14] Rock would eventually help Jones get a job at Saturday Night Live.[14]

In 2008, Jones was part of Katt Williams's It's Pimpin' Pimpin' tour.[6][15]

Netflix signed Jones for a stand-up special slated for 2020.[16]

Saturday Night Live

In December 2013, Saturday Night Live held a casting call to add at least one African-American female to the show, and Jones auditioned. Prior to being asked to audition, Jones had criticized the show, saying that the show, and especially cast member Kenan Thompson, was "not funny".[17] Sasheer Zamata was added as a featured player, while Jones and LaKendra Tookes were hired as writers.[18] Jones appeared during the Weekend Update segment of the May 3, 2014 episode hosted by Andrew Garfield, where her jokes about her current dating problems and her potential effectiveness as a breeding slave sparked controversy.[10][19]

Jones appeared in the first and third episodes of the 40th season, hosted by Chris Pratt and Bill Hader, respectively. On October 20, 2014, Jones was promoted to the cast as a featured player, and made her official debut on the October 25, 2014 episode hosted by Jim Carrey.[20] She became, at age 47, the oldest person to join the show as a cast member (surpassing Michael McKean and George Coe, who were 46 when they joined the show in 1994 and 1975, respectively).[21][22] Jones' addition marked the first time in SNL history that the show's cast included more than one African-American female;[23] moreover, the 40th season had the most African-American cast members to date.[citation needed] Jones subsequently returned for Seasons 41, 42 (where she was promoted to Repertory Status), 43, and 44.

In 2017 and 2018, Jones was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on SNL.

Jones did not return to the 45th season, making the 44th season her last season.[24]

Film

In 2006, Jones appeared in Master P's film Repos.

In 2014, Jones appeared in Chris Rock's directorial film, Top Five; Rock has said a follow-up is in the works,[25] telling Complex Magazine, "Some people really shine in Top Five. You might want to see a little more Leslie Jones."[26]

In 2015, Jones appeared in the Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer project, Trainwreck; reportedly Apatow and Schumer wrote a part specifically for Jones after seeing her turn in Top Five.[27]

In 2016, she starred in the reboot Ghostbusters as Patty Tolan, alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon.[10][28]

Jones appeared in Coming 2 America alongside Tracy Morgan, Rick Ross, and KiKi Layne. The film is a sequel to Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy.[29]

She has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Actors Branch since 2017.[30]

Olympics coverage

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jones regularly live-tweeted events and posted videos of her reactions.[31][32] Enthusiasm for Jones' commentary grew, with articles appearing like The Huffington Post's "Watching Leslie Jones Watch The Olympics Is Better Than The Actual Olympics".[33] Television producer Mike Shoemaker, one of Jones' Twitter followers, posted on Twitter that his friend Jim Bell, NBC's executive producer of the network's Olympics coverage, should add Jones to NBC's team of commentators covering the Games; Bell responded on Twitter the next day asking Jones to join NBC in Rio de Janeiro. She accepted and flew to Rio de Janeiro, covering swimming, track and field, gymnastics, and beach volleyball for NBC.[34]

Jones reprised her duties at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.[35]

Other projects

Jones and fellow comedian Adam DeVine appeared in a 2016 ad campaign for Allstate Insurance, created by Leo Burnett Worldwide.[36]

Jones hosted the BET Awards on June 25, 2017.[37] This marked her hosting debut.

In 2018, Jones appeared in two advertisements for Amazon's Echo Spot.[38]

In 2020, Jones hosted a Supermarket Sweep reboot. There were 10 episodes. It is unknown if the show will be renewed for 2021. [39]

Influences

Jones has cited as her comedic influences Eddie Murphy,[9] Richard Pryor,[6] Carol Burnett,[40] Lucille Ball,[40] John Ritter,[40] and Whoopi Goldberg.[6]

Personal life

Jones is a fan of the MLS team Seattle Sounders FC.[41]

Online attacks and harassment

Following the release of Ghostbusters (2016), Jones became the subject of racist and misogynistic attacks on Twitter. The site responded by taking action against several users, resulting in the permanent banning of user and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who had described Jones as "barely literate".[42]

After continuing to receive racist comments, Jones temporarily quit Twitter on July 18, 2016.[43] She appeared later in the week on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where she discussed the ordeal and her meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In response to Yiannopoulos' claim that he was targeted for being a "gay conservative", Jones argued that "hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things."[44]

Nearly a month later, Jones was again subject to online harassment. Her personal website was hacked, with its contents being replaced with pictures of her driver's license and passport.[45] The site was changed to display alleged nude photographs of Jones, as well as a video tribute to Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla killed in May 2016 (a reference to the racially charged gorilla remarks hurled at Jones in the earlier attack). Jones' team took the website down shortly after it was hacked.[46]

Both incidents resulted in large outpourings of celebrity and fan support, via the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ, which trended on both Twitter and Instagram.[47] Paul Feig,[48] Gabourey Sidibe, Ellen DeGeneres, Sara Benincasa, Ava DuVernay, Hillary Clinton, Corey Taylor,[49] Katy Perry, Octavia Spencer, Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham,[50] and Loni Love all voiced solidarity with Jones. She later responded to the hacks on the October 22, 2016, episode of Saturday Night Live.[51]

Filmography

Film

YearFilm titleRoleNotes
1999For Love of the Game(uncredited)[52]
2003National SecurityBritney
2006ReposLay LaCredited as Annette Jones
2007Gangsta Rap: The GlockumentaryMamma Du RagCredited as Annette "Leslie" Jones
2008Internet DatingToo Sweett Jones
2010Something Like a Business Vanity
Lottery TicketTasha
The Company We KeepBeverly Blue
2012House ArrestBoss Lady
Christmas in Compton (aka One Bad Christmas)Tiny
2014Top FiveLisa
Kony Montana (aka Michael Blackson is Kony Montana)Fufu
2015We Are FamilyLeslie (The Driver)
TrainwreckAngry Subway Patron
2016GhostbustersPatricia "Patty" Tolan
SingMeena's motherVoice
MastermindsFBI Special Agent Scanlon
2019The Angry Birds Movie 2ZetaVoice
2021Coming 2 AmericaMary Junson

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1996In The HouseFemale Basketball Player (uncredited)Episode: "Hoop Screams".
1997Coach(uncredited)Episode: "It's A Swamp Thing".
2001–02The Way We Do ItVarious
2004GirlfriendsMabelEpisode: "Love, Peace and Hair Grease". Credited as Leslie.
2007Mind of MenciaNurse Brownsugar/Bodyguard2 episodes
American Body ShopRoshanda WashingtonEpisode: "Fluids"
2010Chelsea LatelyHerself (roundtable panelist)Episode: "Crispin Glover"
Problem Child: Leslie Jones (aka Big Les: Problem Child)HerselfShowtime stand-up comedy special.
2012Daddy Knows BestAngry WomanEpisode: "Taser"
2013Sullivan & SonBobbieEpisode: "Acceptance"
See Dad RunSecurity GuardEpisode: "See Dad Be Normal...ish"
The LeagueStand Up StudentEpisode: "The Bringer Show"
2014–19Saturday Night LiveVariousCast member and writer
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics (2019)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2017, 2018)
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series (2015)
2014WorkaholicsLynetteEpisode: "The One Where the Guys Play Basketball and Do the Friends Title Thing"
2015The AwesomesSilent But DeadlyVoice, Episode: "The Final Showdown"
2016The BlacklistCitizenEpisode: "Lady Ambrosia"
2018Kevin (Probably) Saves the WorldCindyEpisode: "The Right Thing"[53]
2020Supermarket SweepHost
RuPaul's Drag RaceHerselfEpisode: The Ball Ball
RuPaul's Drag Race: UntuckedHerselfEpisode: The Ball Ball
Death to 2020Dr. Maggie GravelTelevision special
2021Celebrity Wheel of FortuneHerselfEpisode: "Leslie Jones, Chandra Wilson and Tony Hawk"

References

  1. ^ a b Phifer, Tony (Fall 2015). "Leslie Jones Found Her Funny at CSU". The Magazine. Fort Collins, Colorado: Colorado State University. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017. Jones (who went by Annette Jones at the time)...CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Additional July 31, 2017.
  2. ^ "Intoxicating Humor". Vibe. Vol. 8 no. 5. June–July 2000. p. 112. ISSN 1070-4701. Bacardi Comedy Champion Annette 'Leslie' Jones...
  3. ^ "Leslie Jones: The World's 100 Most Influential People". Time. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Leslie Jones Biography: Actress, Comedian (1967–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  5. ^ Jones, Leslie [@lesdoggg] (February 13, 2015). "Really missing my brother today..." (Tweet). Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017 – via Twitter. "quote=Rest in peace Rodney Keith."
  6. ^ a b c d e Gardenswartz, Noah (March 15, 2010). "Leslie Jones: Just wants to make you laugh". LaughSpin. Archived from the original on November 2, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  7. ^ "Jane Fonda/Leslie Jones/Kay Cannon". Late Night with Seth Meyers. May 12, 2015. NBC. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e "Leslie Jones: Comedian At Work". Pollstar.com. March 19, 2010. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e Downs, Gordon (November 3, 2011). "Leslie Jones on the Craft of Comedy". SanDiego.com. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Marantz, Andrew (January 4, 2016). "Ready for Prime Time". The New Yorker: 22–29. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  11. ^ Gay, Verne (October 20, 2014). "Leslie Jones joins 'Saturday Night Live' cast". Newsday. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "BIOGRAPHY". Justleslie.com. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  13. ^ Marantz, Andrew. "Ready for Prime Time". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Rock, Chris. "Chris Rock Pens Blistering Essay on Hollywood's Race Problem: "It's a White Industry"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  15. ^ McCarthy, Sean L. (March 2, 2010). "Leslie Jones, aka Big Les, may be a "Problem Child," but knows when to take Katt Williams' advice". thecomicscomic.com. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  16. ^ Nickolai, Nate (August 13, 2019). "Leslie Jones Sets New Comedy Special With Netflix". Variety. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Patricia Tone (October 27, 2013). "Leslie Jones – Russell Simmons' A.D.D." – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "'SNL' Adds Two Black Writers, LaKendra Tookes And Leslie Jones, After Hiring Black Cast Member (VIDEO)". HuffPost. January 8, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  19. ^ "'SNL' Writer Leslie Jones Defends Controversial Slave Sketch (VIDEO)". HuffPost. May 5, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 20, 2014). "Leslie Jones Named 'Saturday Night Live' Cast Member". Deadline. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  21. ^ "Original 'SNL' Cast MemberGeorge Coe Dies". TMZ. July 20, 2015.
  22. ^ Wright, Megh (July 9, 2013). "Saturday Night's Children: Michael McKean (1994–1995) | Splitsider". Splitsider. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  23. ^ Tonya, Pendleton. "Leslie Jones: 'I don't miss SNL'". www.yahoo.com. Yahoo. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  24. ^ "Leslie Jones to Leave 'Saturday Night Live' Ahead of The 45th Season". TheWrap. August 27, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  25. ^ Chen, Jonathan (March 19, 2015). "A New Chris Rock Film is in The Works, Follow-up to Top Five". Paste Magazine. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  26. ^ Frazier, Tharpe (March 19, 2015). "Interview: Chris Rock Talks His New Movie and Racist Fraternities: "The Girls Scare Me More Than the Guys"". Complex. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  27. ^ Jung, E. Alex (December 28, 2015). "Leslie Jones Is Awesome, So Obviously Her New Yorker Profile Is Too". Vulture. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  28. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 20, 2014). "Meet Your All-Female 'Ghostbusters'!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony. "'Coming To America 2' Adds Tracy Morgan". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  30. ^ Hammond, Pete (June 28, 2017). "Film Academy Invites Record 774 New Members, From Gal Gadot To Betty White".
  31. ^ Dessem, Matthew (August 7, 2016). "Leslie Jones' Olympics Tweets Are So Intense, NBC Invited Her to Rio". Slate. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  32. ^ Liptak, Andrew (August 7, 2016). "Leslie Jones' Olympic live tweeting just got her invited to Rio". The Verge. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  33. ^ Delbyck, Cole (August 6, 2016). "Watching Leslie Jones Watch The Olympics Is Better Than Actual Olympics". HuffPost. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  34. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (August 8, 2016). "Leslie Jones Accepts NBC Invite To Rio Olympics After Tweet-Storm Goes Viral – Update". Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  35. ^ "Leslie Jones joins 2018 Winter Olympics coverage as NBC contributor". EW.com.
  36. ^ Lazare, Lewis (May 12, 2016). "Allstate turns to Adam DeVine and Leslie Jones for comedic effect in new brand ads". Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  37. ^ "Leslie Jones to Host 2017 BET Awards". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Amazon's Super Bowl Ad Came With an Extra Spot After the Game – Adweek". Adweek.
  39. ^ https://nextseasontv.com/supermarket-sweep-season-2-release-date-abc
  40. ^ a b c LeslieJonesVideoBlog (December 9, 2011). "Leslie Jones Video Blog: Female Comics" – via YouTube.
  41. ^ "Watch the Seattle Seahawks' reaction to the Sounders' MLS Cup win". December 11, 2016.
  42. ^ Roy, Jessica (July 19, 2016). "Twitter bans Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos for harassment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  43. ^ Fisher, Lucina (July 20, 2016). "'Ghostbusters' Star Leslie Jones Quits Twitter After Online Harassment". ABC News. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  44. ^ Liptak, Andrew (July 22, 2016). "Leslie Jones: 'hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things'". The Verge. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  45. ^ Sblendorio, Peter. "Leslie Jones' website hacked, with nude photos and personal information exposed". nydailynews.com.
  46. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (August 25, 2016). "The Hacking of Leslie Jones Exposes Misogynoir at Its Worst".
  47. ^ "#LoveForLeslieJ Trends On Twitter After "Ghostbusters" Backlash". July 20, 2016.
  48. ^ Ledbetter, Carly (August 24, 2016). "Celebrities Rally Around Leslie Jones After Vicious Internet Hack". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  49. ^ Yee, Lawrence (August 24, 2016). "Leslie Jones Hack: Celebrities Come to Her Defense". Variety. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  50. ^ O'Malley, Katie (August 25, 2016). "Celebrities Come Out To Support Leslie Jones Following Hacking". Elle. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  51. ^ Golgowski, Nina (October 23, 2016). "Leslie Jones Shoots Down Trolls in Epic 'Saturday Night Live' Segment". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  52. ^ "Leslie Jones on MySpace Comedy – Comic Clips, Funny Videos & Jokes". Myspace. March 1, 2009. Archived from the original on March 1, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  53. ^ Darwish, Meaghan. "Jason Ritter Teases What's to Come on 'Kevin (Probably) Saves the World'". TV Insider.

External links

Preceded by
David Ruprecht
(1990–1995, 2000–2003)
Host of Supermarket Sweep
2020–present
Succeeded by
incumbent