Leslie Jones Felt Like a ‘Caricature’ on ‘SNL’: ‘It’s a Machine That Has to Work’

“They take that one [trope] and they wring it,” the comedian and now author says

Leslie Jones performs stand-up in May 2023
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Leslie Jones described her time on “Saturday Night Live” as repetitive once she got pigeonholed into certain types of comedic roles on the sketch comedy show.

In an interview with NPR, the comedian, whose new memoir “Leslie F*cking Jones” was released this week, said she felt like “SNL” made her “a caricature of myself.”

“‘SNL,’ they take that one [trope] and they wring it. They wring it because that’s the machine,” Jones said. “So whatever it is that I’m giving that they’re so happy about, they feel like it’s got to be that all the time or something like that.”

Jones, who joined the cast sketch comedy show at the age of 47 in 2014, described the repetitive trope she felt trapped into in detail.

“Either I’m trying to love on the white boys or beat up on the white boys, or I’m doing something loud,” she said.

“I was talking to another cast member that retired and they said ‘But in fairness, that’s how they do all of them. Not just the Black ones,’” Jones continued. “I look back and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s right, Taran Killam!’ Taran wanted to do so much other stuff, but they would only have Taran in those very masculine [roles] and singing and stuff and I said, ‘Oh! This is a machine.’”

The comedian and actress, whose memoir also made points about her experience starring in the all-female “Ghostbusters” (2016), subtly nodded to the WGA in her interview as well.

“I used to always be like, [executive producer Lorne Michaels is] the puppet master. So he has to make the cast happy, has to make the writers happy, he has to make the WGA happy, he has to make NBC happy,” she added. “Then he has to make a family in Omaha, Nebraska, who’s watching the show happy. Imagine the strings that have to go out to him. So it’s a machine that has to work.”