Saturday Night Live will be missing a familiar face when it returns for Season 45 in September. Leslie Jones is leaving the iconic sketch show after five seasons. She's been a fan favorite since the beginning of her time on the series, so it's safe to say audiences will miss her come this fall. Why is Leslie Jones leaving Saturday Night Live? The comedian will still be busy making fans laugh.
UPDATE: On Aug. 27, Deadline reported Jones will be reviving the classic game show Supermarket Sweep as a host and executive producer, among her other known future projects.
Jones began on SNL in 2014 first as a writer, and then as a featured player. She was 47 at the time, meaning she made history as the oldest person to join the cast of SNL as a newbie. Throughout Jones' time on SNL, she became known for bringing her vibrant and dynamic energy to the show, particularly in her boisterous "Weekend Update" appearances and for a series of digital shorts depicting her fake relationship with castmate Kyle Mooney. I wonder if Mooney will address their "break-up" in a video this season.
According to Deadline, Jones made the decision to leave SNL before her seven-year contract was over. After a whole lot of praise and two Emmy nominations for her work on SNL, Jones has been fielding a bunch of new projects. She's reportedly leaving SNL to focus on the rest of her career.
Jones is filming a comedy special in Washington D.C. on Sept. 10. The special will air on Netflix in 2020. She'll also be pretty busty post-SNL with several acting projects, with upcoming roles in movies and TV shows, including a supporting role in Eddie Murphy's Coming to America sequel movie, Coming 2 America, and the voice role of the villain Zeta in Angry Birds 2.
Hopefully, the post-SNL era Jones will also keep up her truly iconic presence on Twitter. She's nearly built a second career out of live-tweeting major events and TV shows, from the Royal Wedding to Game of Thrones. Jones was even invited to the 2018 Winter Olympics to provide commentary after her tweets about the 2016 Summer Olympics garnered so much buzz.
The awesome thing about Jones is that she seems to know just how funny and talented she is, and her confidence makes her a joy to watch in whatever she does. In a 2017 NY Times interview, she was asked if she was surprised when the SNL producers decided to put her on air. She responded:
They’re [the producers] not stupid. I was bringing a lot to the table — a lot of energy into the room and to the people on the show. It would be stupid not to put me in front of the camera.
Jones' loss will definitely be felt, but luckily some other fan-favorites will be returning to SNL. Kenan Thompson, who's been on the show the longest of all the cast members, and Kate McKinnon have both been confirmed to come back this fall, so fans can still expect plenty of the characters and sketches they love.
Season 45 of Saturday Night Live premieres Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.