Annette Jones (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. Jones starred in Ghostbusters (2016) as Patty Tolan.
- 1Early life
- 2.2Saturday Night Live
- 2.5Other projects
- 2.6Sports fandom
- 4Online attacks
- 7External links
Annette Jones was born on September 7, 1967, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was in the United States Army, and her family moved frequently. 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 said on Late Night with Seth Meyers that her father suggested that she play the sport because she is six feet tall.
Jones attended Chapman University on a basketball scholarship and transferred to Colorado State University when her coach left Chapman for Colorado State. She intended to become a lawyer, 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. At Chapman, Jones became a radio DJ. She was unsure of what she wanted to do and contemplated the possibility of a career playing basketball overseas.
She had a brother, Rodney Keith Jones (1971-2009).
Jones started to do stand-up comedy in college in 1987, when a friend signed her up for a "Funniest Person on Campus" contest. After she won the contest, Jones left school and moved to Los Angeles. She performed at regular clubs and worked at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles and UPS 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. She performed at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, but received unfavorable reviews. She opened up for Jamie Foxx and was booed by the audience. Feeling discouraged, Jones stopped performing for three years.
In 2008, Jones was part of Katt Williams's It's Pimpin' Pimpin' tour.
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". Sasheer Zamata was added as a featured player, while Jones and LaKendra Tookes were hired as writers. 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.
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). 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. Jones subsequently returned for Seasons 41, 42, and 43.
In 2006, Jones appeared in Master P's movie Repos.
In 2014, Jones appeared in Chris Rock's directing debut, Top Five; Rock has said a follow-up is in the works, telling Complex Magazine, "Some people really shine in Top Five. You might want to see a little more Leslie Jones."
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.
In 2016, she starred in the reboot Ghostbusters as Patty Tolan, alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate
During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Jones drew attention on social media and in the press as a Team USA "superfan", regularly live-tweeting events and posting videos of her reactions. 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". 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.
Jones reprised her duties at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Jones and fellow comedian Adam DeVine appeared in a 2016 ad campaign for Allstate Insurance, created by Leo Burnett Worldwide.
Jones hosted the BET Awards on June 25, 2017. This marked her hosting debut.
In 2018, Jones appeared in two advertisements for Amazon's Echo Spot.
Jones is a fan of the MLS team Seattle Sounders FC.
Jones has cited as her comedic influences Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, John Ritter, and Whoopi Goldberg.