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Leslie Jones

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Leslie Jones (born September 7, 1967)[1] is an American comedian and actress who is a cast member 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.[2]

Early life

Leslie Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee.[2] Her father was in the United States Army and her family moved frequently.[3] Her family moved to Los Angeles, when her father took a job at Stevie Wonder's radio station, KJLH, as an electronic 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.[4] She attended Chapman University on a basketball scholarship and transferred to Colorado State University when her coach left Chapman for Colorado State.[5][6] She intended to become a lawyer,[2] but changed her mind and changed her major a few times, including business accounting and computer science and eventually ended up majoring in communications.[7] At Chapman, Jones became a radio DJ.[7] She was unsure of what she wanted to do, and contemplated the possibility of a career playing basketball overseas.[2]


Jones started to do stand-up comedy in college in 1987, when a friend signed her up for a "Funniest Person on Campus" contest.[2][3] After she won the contest, Jones left school and moved to Los Angeles.[2] She performed at regular clubs and worked at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles and UPS[8] to make ends meet. Mother Love and Dave Chappelle encouraged her to move to New York to hone her craft for two years, where she appeared on BET's ComicView before returning to Los Angeles.[7] She performed at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, but received unfavorable reviews.[7] She opened up for Jamie Foxx and was booed by the audience. Feeling discouraged, Jones stopped performing for three years.[7]

In 2010, Jones was part of Katt Williams' It's Pimpin' Pimpin' tour.[3][9]

In December 2013, Saturday Night Live held a casting call to add at least one African-American woman to the show, and Jones auditioned. Sasheer Zamata was added as a featured player, while Jones and LaKendra Tookes were hired as writers.[10] Jones appeared during the Weekend Update segment of the May 3, 2014 Saturday Night Live, where her jokes about her current dating problems and her potential effectiveness as a breeding slave were met with controversy.[5][11]

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).[12][13] 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.[14] Jones subsequently returned for Season 41.

In 2016, she starred in the reboot of the 1984 film Ghostbusters as Patty Tolan, alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon.[5][15] Following the film's release, Jones became the target of numerous Twitter accounts making racially charged attacks. Twitter responded by taking action against several users, including a lifetime ban against Breitbart blogger Milo Yiannopoulos[16] who was accused of orchestrating it.[17] After continuing to receive racial comments towards her, Jones announced that she would be leaving Twitter on July 18, 2016.[18]

Jones and fellow comedian Adam DeVine appeared in a 2016 ad campaign for Allstate Insurance, created by Leo Burnett Worldwide.[19]


Jones has cited as her comedic influences Eddie Murphy,[2] Richard Pryor,[3] and Whoopi Goldberg.[3]



Year Film Role Notes
1987 Home Is Where the Hart Is Night Nurse
1998 Wrongfully Accused Sergeant Tina Bagley
1998 Sploosh Short film
1998 Does That Make Me a Bad Person? Marilyn Dukekne Short film
2000 A Feeling Called Glory Vapid Nurse Short film
2003 National Security Britney
2003 A Guy Thing Sales Employee
2006 Repos Lay La Credited as Annette Jones
2007 Gangsta Rap: The Glockumentary Mamma Rag
2008 Internet Dating Too Sweett Jones
2010 Something Like a Business Vanity
2010 Lottery Ticket Tasha
2010 The Company We Keep Beverly Blue
2012 House Arrest Boss Lady
2014 Top Five Lisa
2015 We Are Family Leslie
2015 Trainwreck Angry Subway Patron
2016 Ghostbusters Patty Tolan
2016 Masterminds Detective
2016 Sing Meena's mother Voice


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Mermaid Clerk Television film
2001 Dark Angel Waitress Episode: "Boo"
2002 The New Beachcombers Maud Wrecht Television film
2012 Daddy Knows Best Angry Woman Episode: "Taser"
2013 Sullivan & Son Bobbie Episode: "Acceptance"
2013 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"


  1. ^"Leslie Jones Biography: Actress, Comedian (1967–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  2. ^Downs, Gordon (November 3, 2011). "Leslie Jones on the Craft of Comedy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  3. ^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.
  4. ^"Jane Fonda/Leslie Jones/Kay Cannon". Late Night with Seth Meyers. May 12, 2015. NBC. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  5. ^Marantz, Andrew (January 4, 2016). "Ready for Prime Time". The New Yorker. Condé Nast: 22–29. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  6. ^Gay, Verne (October 20, 2014). "Leslie Jones joins 'Saturday Night Live' cast". Newsday. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  7. ^"Leslie Jones: Comedian At Work". Pollstar. March 19, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  8. ^"BIOGRAPHY". Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  9. ^McCarthy, Sean L. (March 2, 2010). "Leslie Jones, aka Big Les, may be a "Problem Child," but knows when to take Katt Williams' advice". Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  10. ^"'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.
  11. ^"'SNL' Writer Leslie Jones Defends Controversial Slave Sketch (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. May 5, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  12. ^TMZ Staff (July 20, 2015). "Original 'SNL' Cast MemberGeorge Coe Dies". TMZ.
  13. ^Wright, Megh (July 9, 2013). "Saturday Night's Children: Michael McKean (1994-1995) | Splitsider". Splitsider. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  14. ^Andreeva, Nellie (October 20, 2014). "Leslie Jones Named 'Saturday Night Live' Cast Member". Deadline. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  15. ^Andreeva, Nellie (October 20, 2014). "Meet Your All-Female 'Ghostbusters'!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  16. ^Roy, Jessica (19 July 2016). "Twitter bans Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos for harassment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  17. ^Jenkins, Nash (20 July 2016). "Twitter Suspends Account of Conservative Writer Milo Yiannopoulos". Time. Retrieved 21 July 2016. Among the suspended accounts is that of incendiary right-wing pundit Milo Yiannopoulos, who reportedly spearheaded the coordinated assault.
  18. ^Fisher, Lucina (20 July 2016). "'Ghostbusters' Star Leslie Jones Quits Twitter After Online Harassment". ABC News. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  19. ^Lazare, Lewis (2016-05-12). "Allstate turns to Adam DeVine and Leslie Jones for comedic effect in new brand ads". Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-06-05.

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