Although celebrities are often seen as overnight success stories, there is a lot of hard work involved before they become stars. Leslie JonesShe is well-known for her many years of service. Saturday Night Live Her roles in movies such as Ghostbusters Sing, was a struggling entrepreneur for more than 20 years before she finally got her big break.
Jones’s Start In Comedy: ‘I Was Terrible’
After being invited by a friend to do stand-up comedy, Jones began performing stand-up comedy in 1987. “Funniest Person on Campus”Contest at Colorado State University. Jones won the contest and decided to move to Los Angeles.
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“I went, ‘F*ck college, f*ck basketball, I’m funny,’ and I dropped out. The next week, I was back in California,”Californian native: In a 2015 interview The New Yorker. After moving to the area, she began performing at comedy clubs. However, it was difficult for her to find her own style as a comedian.
Jones was booed from the stage while performing on a bill that featured Jamie Foxx. “I was doing jokes about white churches versus black churches, and imitating my uncle’s stutter,”The comedian explained. “I was terrible.”
Jones was able to see Foxx’s performance and get a taste for what a real career as a comedian could look like. “It was, like, a religious feeling, watching him,” Jones shared. “I had never seen a real comedian before, at least not in person.”
Foxx offered his wisdom to the newcomer: “You could be good, but you don’t have sh*t to talk about yet. You need to get your heart broken, have some bad jobs—live life for a while.”
Jones took this advice seriously, and didn’t perform for the next six years. She took up jobs as a waitress and a cook, as well as salespersons and justice of the Peace. After she began performing again, she worked part-time.
“I was the funniest waitress Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles ever had,”She giggled. “Customers would be, like, ‘Didn’t I just see you on BET?’ I’d be, like, ‘Yep. Breast and a wing or leg and a thigh?’
Chris Rock lends a helping hand
Jones spent many years working in the field she called “sh*tty chitlin-circuit-a** rooms, where you’re just hoping the promoter pays you.”In 2010, the comedian made the decision to quit. “only doing Black clubs.”
“I knew how to relate to that audience, and I was winning where I was, but I wasn’t moving forward,” Jones explained. Jones explained how she began asking for spots in a renowned club called The Comedy Store. This is where Robin Williams and Jim Carrey started their careers. After a few sets at the club, Jones decided to address the fact that she wasn’t getting the prime-time spots.
“I went to the booker and I threw the race card at him,” Jones remembered. “‘Why you won’t let me go up at ten on a Friday? ’Cause I’m black?’”The booker offered her a prime time slot and she took it.
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Chris Rock saw one of her performances at Comedy Store in 2012. After her set, he told her. “You were always funny, but you’re at a new level now.” Jones replied, “You’re right, but I’m not gonna really make it unless someone like you puts me on.”Rock reached for his phone and added Rock to the list he had made. “Funny people.”
Rock was still having dinner with Lorne, the creator and showrunner for Rock a year later. SNL. The show was trying to diversify their cast by adding a Black woman to it. “You should look at Leslie Jones,”Rock said Michaels. “She’s the funniest woman I know.”
Jones was invited to audition for the role and performed her stand-up act. She also included a joke she wrote back in 1987. “It’s the closest I’ve come to a perfect joke, but it took years before I was talented enough to perform it,”The comedian laughed.
She didn’t end up getting brought on as a cast member, but Michaels invited Jones to join the SNL Writing staff. None of her sketches made it on to the air in her first few months as an author. “As a comedian, it’s, like, ‘I’m bombing. What am I doing wrong?’”She spoke of the time. “At least they still paid me.”
Success at 47
Jones was promoted to the role of featured player in 2014 She was 47 years old and the oldest cast member to join the show. She became a household name, appearing in viral sketches and winning Emmy noms.
Hollywood called Jones too, and Jones began to appear in movies such as Trainwreck Ghostbusters. She also became a reliable host for events, like the 2017 BET Awards, the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards, and covered the Olympics in 2016 and 2018.
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It can be easy to get discouraged, especially when you’re pursuing something like a career in the entertainment industry. Many would have given up, but Jones is proof that hard work and determination will always pay off in the end—no matter how old you are.