Leslie Jones (comedian)

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Leslie Jones
Birth name Annette Leslie Jones
Born (1967-09-07) September 7, 1967 (age 49)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Medium Stand-up comedy, television, film
Alma mater Colorado State University
Years active 1987–present
Genres Observational humor, blue comedy, black comedy, physical comedy
Subject(s) African-American culture, everyday life, pop culture, current events
Notable works and roles Saturday Night Live cast member, writer

Annette Leslie Jones[1][2] (born September 7, 1967), better known as Leslie Jones, is an American comedian and actress who is a cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live. 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.[3] Jones starred in Ghostbusters (2016) as Patty Tolan.

Early life[edit]

Annette Leslie Jones was born on September 7, 1967 in Memphis, Tennessee.[3][4] Her father, Junebug, was in the United States Army and her family moved frequently.[5] Her family moved to Los Angeles, when her father took a job at Stevie Wonder's radio station, KJLH, as an electronics engineer. Jones attended high school in Lynwood, California, where she also played basketball; in May 2015, she stated on Late Night with Seth Meyers that her father suggested that she play the sport because she is six feet tall.[6]

Jones attended Chapman University on a basketball scholarship and transferred to Colorado State University when her coach left Chapman for Colorado State.[7][8] She intended to become a lawyer,[3] but changed her mind and changed her major a few times, including to business accounting and computer science and eventually ended up majoring in communications.[9] At Chapman, Jones became a radio DJ.[9] She was unsure of what she wanted to do, and contemplated the possibility of a career playing basketball overseas.[3]

She had a brother named Rodney Keith Jones, who has since passed away.[10]

Career[edit]

Stand-up[edit]

Jones started to do stand-up comedy in college in 1987, when a friend signed her up for a "Funniest Person on Campus" contest.[3][5] After she won the contest, Jones left school and moved to Los Angeles.[3] She performed at regular clubs and worked at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles and UPS[11] to make ends meet. 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.[9] She performed at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, but received unfavorable reviews.[9] She opened up for Jamie Foxx and was booed by the audience. Feeling discouraged, Jones stopped performing for three years.[9]

In 2008, Jones was part of Katt Williams's It's Pimpin' Pimpin' tour.[5][12]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

In December 2013, Saturday Night Live held a casting call to add at least one African-American woman 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"[13]. Sasheer Zamata was added as a featured player, while Jones and LaKendra Tookes were hired as writers.[14] 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 were met with controversy.[7][15]

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. She became, at the age of 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, respectively, 1994 and 1975).[16][17] Jones' addition marks the first time in SNL history that the show's cast has included more than one African-American woman; in addition, the 40th season has the most African-American cast members to date.[18] Jones subsequently returned for Seasons 41 and 42.

Film[edit]

In 2014, Jones appeared in Chris Rock's directing debut, Top Five; Rock has said a follow-up is in the works,[19] telling Complex Magazine, "Some people really shine in Top Five. You might want to see a little more Leslie Jones."[20]

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.[21]

In 2016, she starred in the reboot Ghostbusters as Patty Tolan, alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon.[7][22]

2016 Olympics[edit]

During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Jones drew attention on social media and in the press as a Team USA "superfan",[23] regularly live-tweeting events and posting videos of her reactions.[24] Enthusiasm for Jones's commentary grew, with articles appearing like The Huffington Post's "Watching Leslie Jones Watch The Olympics Is Better Than The Actual Olympics."[25] Television producer Mike Shoemaker, one of Jones's 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. She accepted and flew to Rio, covering swimming, track and field, gymnastics and beach volleyball for NBC.[26]

Other projects[edit]

Jones and fellow comedian Adam DeVine appeared in a 2016 ad campaign for Allstate Insurance, created by Leo Burnett Worldwide.[27]

Jones will host the BET Awards on June 25 2017.[28] This marks her hosting debut.

Influences[edit]

Jones has cited as her comedic influences Eddie Murphy,[3] Richard Pryor,[5], Carol Burnett[29], Lucille Ball[30], John Ritter[31], Buster Keaton and Whoopi Goldberg.[5]

Online attacks[edit]

Following the release of Ghostbusters, Jones became the target of numerous accounts on social networking site Twitter making racially charged attacks. Twitter responded by taking action against several users, resulting in a lifetime ban of user and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos[32] who was accused of orchestrating it.[33] After continuing to receive racial comments towards her, Jones announced that she would be leaving Twitter on July 18, 2016.[34] Jones appeared later in the week on Late Night with Seth Meyers, in which she described the ordeal and her meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Responding to Yiannopoulos's claim that he was targeted for being a "gay conservative", Jones stated, "Free speech and hate speech [are] two different things".[35]

Nearly a month later, Jones was again the subject of numerous online attacks. Her personal website was hacked, with its contents being replaced by photos of her driver's license and passport.[36] The site was also made 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 directed at Jones in the earlier attack). Jones' team took the website down shortly after it was hacked.[37]

Both incidents resulted in large outpourings of celebrity and fan support, via the hashtag "#LoveForLeslieJ", which trended on both Twitter and Instagram.[38] Questlove commented that what had happened to Jones qualified as "hate crimes".[39] Paul Feig,[40] Gabourey Sidibe, Ellen DeGeneres, Sara Benincasa, Ava DuVernay, Hillary Clinton, Corey Taylor,[41] Katy Perry, Octavia Spencer, Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham[42] and Loni Love expressed solidarity with Jones. Jones responded to the hacks on the October 22, 2016 episode of Saturday Night Live.[43]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Title Role Notes
1998 Sploosh Short film
Does That Make Me a Bad Person? Marilyn Dukekne Short film
2000 A Feeling Called Glory Vapid Nurse Short film
2003 National Security Britney
A Guy Thing Sales Employee
2006 Repos Lay La Credited as Annette Jones
2007 Gangsta Rap: The Glockumentary Mamma Du Rag Credited as Annette "Leslie" Jones
2008 Internet Dating Too Sweett Jones
2010 Something Like a Business Vanity
Lottery Ticket Tasha
The Company We Keep Beverly Blue
2012 House Arrest Boss Lady
Christmas in Compton (aka One Bad Christmas) Tiny
2014 Top Five Lisa
2015 We Are Family Leslie (The Driver)
Trainwreck Angry Subway Patron
2016 Ghostbusters Patty Tolan
Sing Meena's mother Voice
Masterminds FBI Special Agent Scanlon

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 In The House Female Basketball Player (uncredited) Episode: "Hoop Screams".
2004 Girlfriends Mabel Episode: "Love, Peace and Hair Grease". Credited as Leslie.
2007 Mind of Mencia Nurse Brownsugar/Bodyguard 2 episodes
American Body Shop Roshanda Washington Episode: "Fluids"
2010 Chelsea Lately Herself (roundtable panelist) Episode: "Crispin Glover"
Problem Child: Leslie Jones (aka Big Les: Problem Child) Herself Showtime stand-up comedy special.
2012 Daddy Knows Best Angry Woman Episode: "Taser"
2013 Sullivan & Son Bobbie Episode: "Acceptance"
See Dad Run Security Guard Episode: "See Dad Be Normal...ish"
The League Stand Up Student Episode: "The Bringer Show"
2014–present Saturday Night Live Various Cast member and writer
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series (2015)
2014 Workaholics Lynette Episode: "The One Where the Guys Play Basketball and Do the Friends Title Thing"
2015 The Awesomes Silent But Deadly Voice, Episode: "The Final Showdown"
2016 The Blacklist Citizen Episode: "Lady Ambrosia"

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://magazine.colostate.edu/issues/fall-2015/leslie-jones-found-her-funny-at-csu/
  2. ^ https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SSgEAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=annette&f=false
  3. ^ a b c d e f g 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. 
  4. ^ "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. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Jane Fonda/Leslie Jones/Kay Cannon". Late Night with Seth Meyers. May 12, 2015. NBC. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Marantz, Andrew (January 4, 2016). "Ready for Prime Time". The New Yorker. Condé Nast: 22–29. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  8. ^ Gay, Verne (October 20, 2014). "Leslie Jones joins 'Saturday Night Live' cast". Newsday. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Leslie Jones: Comedian At Work". Pollstar. March 19, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  10. ^ https://twitter.com/lesdoggg/status/566285185952784384
  11. ^ "BIOGRAPHY". Justleslie.com. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhvKGF93WBk?t=63
  14. ^ "'SNL' Adds Two Black Writers, LaKendra Tookes And Leslie Jones, After Hiring Black Cast Member (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. January 8, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ "'SNL' Writer Leslie Jones Defends Controversial Slave Sketch (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. May 5, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  16. ^ TMZ Staff (July 20, 2015). "Original 'SNL' Cast MemberGeorge Coe Dies". TMZ. 
  17. ^ Wright, Megh (July 9, 2013). "Saturday Night's Children: Michael McKean (1994-1995) | Splitsider". Splitsider. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 20, 2014). "Leslie Jones Named ‘Saturday Night Live’ Cast Member". Deadline. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ Jung, E. Alex (December 28, 2015). "Leslie Jones Is Awesome, So Obviously Her New Yorker Profile Is Too". Vulture. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 20, 2014). "Meet Your All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ Dessem, Matthew (August 7, 2016). "Leslie Jones’ Olympics Tweets Are So Intense, NBC Invited Her to Rio". Slate. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  24. ^ Liptak, Andrew (August 7, 2016). "Leslie Jones' Olympic live tweeting just got her invited to Rio". The Verge. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  25. ^ Delbyck, Cole (August 6, 2016). "Watching Leslie Jones Watch The Olympics Is Better Than Actual Olympics". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  26. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (August 8, 2016). "Leslie Jones Accepts NBC Invite To Rio Olympics After Tweet-Storm Goes Viral – Update". Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/7808596/2017-bet-awards-leslie-jones-host
  29. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63HOqonso24?t=166
  30. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63HOqonso24?t=166
  31. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63HOqonso24?t=166
  32. ^ Roy, Jessica (July 19, 2016). "Twitter bans Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos for harassment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  33. ^ Jenkins, Nash (July 20, 2016). "Twitter Suspends Account of Conservative Writer Milo Yiannopoulos". Time. Retrieved July 21, 2016. Among the suspended accounts is that of incendiary right-wing pundit Milo Yiannopoulos, who reportedly spearheaded the coordinated assault. 
  34. ^ Fisher, Lucina (July 20, 2016). "'Ghostbusters' Star Leslie Jones Quits Twitter After Online Harassment". ABC News. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Leslie Jones on Her Twitter Trolls". NBC. July 22, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Leslie Jones’ website hacked, exposing nude photos, personal info". 
  37. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (August 25, 2016). "The Hacking of Leslie Jones Exposes Misogynoir at Its Worst". 
  38. ^ "#LoveForLeslieJ Trends On Twitter After "Ghostbusters" Backlash". July 20, 2016. 
  39. ^ "Questlove Gomez". Twitter. 
  40. ^ Ledbetter, Carly (August 24, 2016). "Celebrities Rally Around Leslie Jones After Vicious Internet Hack". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  41. ^ Yee, Lawrence (August 24, 2016). "Leslie Jones Hack: Celebrities Come to Her Defense". Variety. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  42. ^ O'Malley, Katie (August 25, 2016). "Celebrities Come Out To Support Leslie Jones Following Hacking". Elle. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  43. ^ Golgowski, Nina (October 23, 2016). "Leslie Jones Shoots Down Trolls In Epic ‘Saturday Night Live’ Segment". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 

External links[edit]