Leslie Jones Talks Hosting The BET Awards And Why You Can’t Tell Her What To Do On Stage
In today’s somewhat overly sensitive politically correct culture, a lot of the fun has been taken out of comedy. What would’ve had audiences holding their bellies with tears of laughter streaming down their faces 10 or 15 years ago could get a comedian fired, shunned, or at the very least taunted in their social media mentions today. But that doesn’t concern Leslie Jones.
We got a chance to chat with the comedian who is slated to host the BET Awards this coming Sunday and when I asked whether any subjects are off limits for her, she essentially said absolutely not.
“You can’t tell a comic what type of material to do, especially if they’re doing it from their life or their life experiences,” the 49-year-old Saturday Night Life (SNL) star told us. “For someone to tell me what type of sense of humor I’m supposed to have, that’s like you’re invading on my rights. I wouldn’t tell you would to laugh at, I wouldn’t tell anyone else what to laugh at, so you definitely can’t tell me what kind of jokes to do, especially as it pertains to my life, ‘cuz I’m gone make it funny, you know what I’m saying?”
Being funny is Jones’ number one goal for her upcoming hosting gig. While she was mum on specific details of this year’s show and her own routine– other than letting it slip that there will be a special tribute to New Edition — Jones said all she really wants to do is make people laugh. And as far as that myth that women comics can’t hold their own? She has no time for it.
“I don’t listen to that stuff because either way it goes, I dispel it every time.”
Since being added as a writer for SNL in January 2014 and being promoted to cast member by October of that same year, it seems the only place for Jones’ career to go is up. Last year she starred in the Ghostbusters reboot and was flown to Rio de Janeiro by NBC to join their team of commentators covering the Olympic games. Now she’s making her hosting debut on the same network where her career got its foothold, having appeared on BET’s Comic View more than 20 years ago, and has her sights set on doing her own stand-up special. Asked what she would tell her younger self now that her comedic dreams are coming true, the answer is simple.
“I would tell myself keep going. Don’t stop; don’t change anything. Don’t quit.”
Tune into the BET Awards Sunday, June 25 at 8pm on BET.