Why SNL's Leslie Jones Almost Turned Down The Show After Chris Rock Got Her An Audition

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For many comedians and all-around funny people, joining the cast of Saturday Night Live is something they dream about for years, maybe even multiple decades, before getting a shot at starring on the famed sketch show. And, those people usually try very hard to make their SNL dreams come true. Alas, it turns out that the same can not be said for former cast member Leslie Jones, who literally went through the audition process just so she could turn down the potential offer.

While it sounds completely insane for anyone in the entertainment industry to audition for a gig (which could likely lead to one of the biggest things they'll ever do in their career) solely for the purpose of saying no to such a massive opportunity. As you might imagine, though, Leslie Jones does have her reasons. She recently revealed that not only did she not think she was cut out for sketch comedy, but that going in for the audition was just as means to an end for her, and that end was not Saturday Night Live.

Here's what Jones told Howard Stern recently when she appeared on his show:

No, I didn’t come to get the job. Howard, I literally went to tell them how dope I was, and was gonna tell them no. I really came out so people could see me, and maybe that was going to give me some opportunities, but I had all plans of saying no.

Alright, I have to admit, this still sounds a bit nutty. But, I think we can all admire the size of the ovaries on a woman who says, "Sure, I'll audition for SNL. But only because it might lead to other, bigger, brighter, things for me. My dope-ocity is really too much for some little sketch show." You go on with your bad self, Leslie Jones!

So, after discovering Leslie Jones for the first time, superstar comedy god (and former SNL player) Chris Rock actually went out of his way to suggest her to the show's mastermind, Lorne Michaels. Of course, as Jones noted in her interview, Rock didn't talk to her first about this move and when she found out about it her reaction sounds like it landed somewhere between annoyed and actually very pissed.

But, as we all know, Leslie Jones did go through the audition process and did, eventually, say yes when she was offered a job as a writer on Saturday Night Live, beginning to work there behind the scenes in early 2014. After making one appearance on Weekend Update in Season 39, she went on to be promoted to featured player early in Season 40. Jones stayed on board for five seasons, becoming a well-loved member of the cast and a celebrity in her own right with her sincere fangirl tendencies leading many folks to stay glued to her Twitter feed.

But, all good things must come to an end, and Jones announced that she was leaving SNL last August, right before Season 45, so that she could pursue other career opportunities. She now heads into her gigs as the new host of Supermarket Sweep and one of the stars of Coming 2 America as a two-time Emmy nominee because of her work on Saturday Night Live, and she's made it clear that, even though she didn't want to do the show at first, it did make her a better performer. So, it's good to see that everything worked out for the best.

Leslie Jones' Supermarket Sweep debut will come to ABC sometime this year, and you can also see her in Coming 2 America on December 18. In the meantime, Saturday Night Live is currently airing Season 45, and you can see what else is on TV this winter in our 2020 premiere guide!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.