Leslie Jones Doesn’t Regret Leaving ‘SNL’: ‘I Don’t Miss It. At All.’

Season 46 of Saturday Night Live is officially underway, coronavirus-style. New episodes of the iconic sketch show have been airing every Saturday with a socially-distant audience, but with the same humor and talent (and musical guests) that SNL is known for.

This is the first season without comedian and actress Leslie Jones, who left the show in 2019 after five years in the cast.

Leslie Jones arrives at the 70th Emmy Awards | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Leslie Jones arrives at the 70th Emmy Awards | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Leslie Jones criticized ‘SNL’ before joining

Jones first joined Saturday Night Live as a writer in 2013 before eventually being promoted to cast member the following year. Prior to auditioning for the role, Jones had some harsh words for the show, as well as one of its stars: Kenan Thompson.

“I don’t watch Saturday Night Live,” Jones said at an event at the time. “Saturday Night Live is not funny. [Thompson’s] not funny.”

Before even joining the show as a cast member, Jones already faced fire for making jokes about slavery on “Weekend Update.” When Jones became a featured player in 2014, she was the oldest person ever to join the show at age 47; her addition to the show also meant that season 40 of SNL had the most Black cast members to date.

Jones earned two consecutive nominations for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on SNL.

Leslie Jones and Colin Jost during "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live | Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Leslie Jones and Colin Jost during “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live | Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Leslie Jones felt restricted at ‘SNL’

Now, after leaving Saturday Night Live, Jones is still critical of the long-running comedy series. She opened up about her experience on the show in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight.

“I don’t miss it. At all,” Jones told ET‘s Kevin Frazier. She admits that she does miss Kenan Thompson, indicating that their friendship grew over her years on the show and remains strong after her departure.

“That job was hard, man. That job was like two jobs and very restrictive too,” she added. “I wasn’t very free there.” 

Leslie Jones attends the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb
Leslie Jones attends the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Leslie Jones’ new job is a full-circle moment

Jones’ latest gig is hosting ABC’s reboot of the classic game show Supermarket Sweep. It’s a dream job for Jones, but it’s also a full-circle moment for her: she actually auditioned to compete on the Lifetime iteration of the show that aired in the ’90s and early ’00s. At the time, Frazier says, Jones was working at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles as a waitress.

“I trained my roommate. I made her watch the show. I took her to grocery stores. I made her run up and down the aisles. We trained!” Jones recounted. “So when we got to the audition, we were destroying teams. And then she turns around and looks at me and says, ‘I have to go to work.'”

Jones was, of course, upset, but little did she know she would eventually be on the other side of the Supermarket Sweep equation. Getting to host the show, she said, is “a comedian’s dream come true.”