“We have to interpret so much pain and make it funny,” explains “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones. In our crazy political landscape, the actress believes the show “lets people who don’t really watch news know what’s going on,” while providing the needed release of laughing at President Donald Trump, even through all his cruelty and instability. Watch our exclusive video interview with Jones above.
Having been with the sketch series since 2014, Jones remains “mesmerized by how the writers can still make it look so good.” Creator and longtime executive producer Lorne Michaels has given them “a little bit more say in what’s going on,” with several young scribes more freely “putting in their opinions now.” All of this, she believes, makes the show feel “fresher.”
This creative renaissance has earned the long-running comedy a new surge of acclaim and awards glory. Jones herself has benefited from this, earning two consecutive Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Supporting Actress (2017-2018). If nominated again this summer, she plans to submit the episode guest hosted by Idris Elba from this season to voters.
While proud of her own accomplishments, she’s equally pleased by the recognition for her co-stars Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson and Alec Baldwin, all of whom have competed in the supporting categories as well, with McKinnon winning in 2016 and 2017 and Baldwin triumphing in 2017. “Our cast is so talented,” she says. “It’s good now that people are starting to actually see the work” and view them as well-rounded performers, rather than simply as “sketch artists.”
Week after week Jones hopes “SNL” gives audiences a hilarious respite from the problems of the world: “I just want everybody to really start enjoying comedy again. That’s what I hope for.”
In addition to her Emmy nominations, Jones competed at the WGA Awards in 2015 for her work as a writer on the series. And along with her late-night TV work, she has appeared in such recent films as “Top Five” (2014), “Ghostbusters” (2016) and “Masterminds” (2016).
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