Leslie Jones Recalls Her Bold 'Saturday Night Live' Audition

Noam Galai/WireImage

"Lorne got his ass up and moved."

Leslie Jones reflects back on her path to success in an extensive profile in next week's New Yorker magazine.

The comedian talks about her Saturday Night Live audition, which earned her a spot as a writer and eventually lead to her becoming a featured cast member. The producers were sitting in the back of the dark studio as they often do when Jones took the stage and decided to change that up.

"I got onstage, took the mike out of the stand, and went, 'Nope. Y’all are gonna have to move up to where I can see you,' " Jones told the magazine. "And Lorne [Michaels] got his ass up and moved."

Jones also remembers telling Chris Rock that he should help her out, after he complimented her standup after a set at the Comedy Store in 2012. She told him that she knows she's funny but, "I'm not gonna really make it unless someone like you puts me on." Rock added her to his "funny people" list on his iPhone and eventually recommended her to Lorne Michaels

"Black women have the hardest gig in show business," Rock tells The New Yorker. "You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman — if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about."

Jones also talked about working through jokes that she didn't find funny when she first started at SNL. "One thing I learned — they’re not racist," she says of her fellow writers. "They’re just white. They don’t know certain things." 

The comedian says she likes to focus on the performance aspect of comedy not just the lines she delivers. "People get hung up on writing smart shit," she said. "To me, it’s more about performance. Lucille Ball and Moms Mabley, they had face. Before they even said a word, they made you crack up."

Paul Feig, who directed Jones in the new Ghostbusters movie, said he was drawn to her "larger-than-life persona."

"I don’t normally like when actors are big and loud,” he said, recalling when he saw Jones appear on "Weekend Update." "But she was able to do it with this grounded, relatable sort of energy. Before her segment was over, I said to my wife, 'I think she’s one of our Ghostbusters.' "

In her interview, Jones revealed how losing her mother, father and brother in the past few years has affected her self-confidence.

"When death touches you that close, you say to yourself, 'It’s time to start liking who the f— you are,' " said Jones. "I’m not perfect, but I’m starting to get comfortable, like a sweater you want to wear all the time."

comments powered by Disqus