Leslie Jones not returning to Saturday Night Live
The comedian/actress has exited NBC’s late-night sketch series a month before season 45 begins, EW has confirmed.
Jones first popped up on SNL during a controversial Weekend Update segment in spring 2014 in which she joked about how much better her dating life would have been during slavery, and was upped to a featured player that fall, becoming the oldest new cast member at age 47. She scored last season in a sketch in which she passionately debated the merits of old-school Weezer at a dinner party, and by getting Naked and Afraid with Peter Dinklage in 2016. She also scored frequently with her no-holds-barred commentaries on Weekend Update (during which she frequently flirted with anchor Colin Jost). For her work on SNL, Jones was nominated for a Supporting Actress Emmy in 2017 and 2018, receiving a third nomination this year for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “The Upper East Side.”
The Ghostbusters alum opted to depart SNL to focus on her burgeoning Hollywood career outside of late night. She will star with Chris Rock in the upcoming indie boxing drama I Am Maurice, and with Kristen Bell in the indie film Queenpins. She’s currently filming the Coming to America sequel Coming 2 America. Earlier this month, Jones announced that she also will headline a comedy special for Netflix that will premiere in 2020. (UPDATE: Jones has also signed on to host and executive-produce a reboot of Supermarket Sweep, according to Deadline.)
There had been questions swirling around possible departures for SNL veterans. Kenan Thompson (who is the longest-tenured cast member in SNL history) confirmed over the summer that he will be returning, although he will star in a new NBC family comedy. And EW can confirm that Kate McKinnon (responsible for some of the show’s biggest breakout moments) has signed on for season 45, which begins Sept. 28.
On Monday, Saturday Night Live released a line-up of hosts and musical guests for season 45, which includes Eddie Murphy and Taylor Swift.