Leslie Jones: I Was Mikey Day's Childhood Waitress

Leslie Jones attends the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Getty - H 2018
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The 'Saturday Night Live' comedian shares a small-world moment — then offers 'Star Wars' star Kelly Marie Tran some advice for her trolls and bemoans the state of the world: "The president is the fucking symptom."

When The Hollywood Reporter recently tried to coax a few details out of Leslie Jones about SNL castmate Pete Davidson’s quick engagement to Ariana Grande, a rep stepped in to say the subject was off-limits. But once the subject had turned to SNL love, Jones couldn’t resist rhapsodizing about co-stars Colin Jost (“a fucking sex doll”) and Mikey Day (“skinny as shit and has this swag”). Both guys are taken, of course, with Jost dating Scarlett Johansson, and Day partnered and with a 6-year-old son.

But Jones’ crush on the 38-year-old Day had already ended the moment the comics realized they had met somewhere before. “He told me that when he was little, he used to go to this restaurant in Orange County called Spoons,” recalls Jones, 50. “And he remembered this lady who used to wait on him. Dude — I was the fucking lady!” Jones says she was around 18 when she used to sling ribs and burgers at the Tex-Mex Eatery in Santa Ana — which would have made Day just 6 years old at the time of their first meeting. After the realization, Jones says she and Day “laughed for 15 minutes.”

Jones shared that anecdote and more in a recent interview with THR.

What was a highlight of this season on SNL?

I like anything that me and Kenan Thompson did together. The gospel brunch was so fun to do. I liked when they had me do Whoopi Goldberg. They had me do Oprah [Winfrey] and Omarosa [Manigault]. Those were really fun to do.

Does taking on all of the African-American female celebrities on SNL every feel like a burden?

Why would it be a burden? I don't have a problem with playing them. I mean, it's definitely better for me to play them than Kenan.

That's true. It just seems challenging.

I'm not an impression comic. When they called me for this job, I was like, "Have you lost your fucking mind? I don't do that. That's not the type of comedy that I do. You have to know how to imitate people." And then I got there, and realized that's not really what it is. You have to embody whatever that person is. So, when I played Omarosa, like, I embodied the sexiness.

Love seems to be blooming all over the SNL set these days. How is your ongoing pursuit of Colin Jost going?

With Colin it's a standing joke, because the first time I saw him, I was like, "He's a robot." There was no way that he was, like, a human person. There's no one that looks that perfect and was not mechanically made. He's a fucking sex doll.

What about Mikey Day? He's pretty cute.

The first time I met Mikey, I was like, "Oh my God." If it was the '80s, I totally would've dated him. I totally would've had a serious crush on Mikey, because he's skinny as shit. He's wiry, and he has this swag, but it's kind of like a cultural swag. Like, he hung around black people when he was young, you know what I'm saying? And then he got them pretty-ass blue eyes. But Mikey has some type of an obsession with me, where every time he writes a sketch, I'm physically abusing him. I was like, "Dude, do you have some kind of fantasy or something?"

Yes, something subconscious going on there.

We were talking one day, and I found out — I'm 50 years old and Mikey's I think in his 30s —  and he told me that when he was little, he used to go to this restaurant in Orange County called Spoons. And he remembered this lady who used to wait on him. Dude — I was the fucking lady!

Small world!

Yeah, I was like 18 or 19. Really young, but I was tall and loud. I said, "Did I make some kind of bad impression on you as a kid? Is that where your obsession with big black women beating you up comes from?" We laughed for 15 minutes.

You were targeted in a terrible way by online trolls when Ghostbusters came out two summers ago. Do you have any advice for Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran, who is facing the same kind of harassment?

I would tell her definitely do not take that shit personal. It don't have nothing to do with her. And I wouldn't have turned my damn account off. What I would do is screenshot every one of them [offensive attacks] because when you do, they stop doing that shit. Trust me. And then also make Twitter and Instagram responsible for that shit. What, you gonna have a public fight club? What the fuck is wrong with people? And this honestly is a result of our society being an unhealthy society.

It's definitely a symptom.

Let me tell you something: The president is the fucking symptom. This motherfucker came out of all of our fucking hate and anger and frustration. We birthed the president. And we need to realize that. As a society, we need to realize that we're walking around offended. There's not gonna be a fucking United States of America if we don't stop acting the way that we act, and stop walking around so fucking offended. There used to be a time where we could talk to each other and laugh with each other. No one's laughing. No one's laughing anymore. I mean the stuff that we use as relief, that's been taken away from us. You know, art, music, comedy — all that shit is a release.

When you say they take comedy away from us, what do you mean by that?

I mean it's just the way that we're walking around offended right now, we're just offended by every little thing that's said. And when we do that, we make a society that is scared to laugh at anything. Now comedians are now supposed to become these smart scholars, which is fine. I love that part of comedy. We need the John Olivers. But we also need the Bernie Macs and the Richard Pryors. We need comedy that's actually making us laugh. Laughter is not just a cerebral thing — it's a bodily reaction.

So what you're saying is people shouldn't feel guilty if they're not spending 24-7 being upset about what's going on in the world. 

I'm 50 years old. So I'm old-school. Trump is fucking awful. Our country is not in a good fucking place. But hasn't our country always been kind of fucked up? Why are we reacting to it so differently now? I feel like we’re not surviving. Like we're temporarily insane or something. Like, it's almost like it's Armageddon. And it's not Armageddon.