Leslie Jones Leaving Saturday Night Live

When Saturday Night Live returns for its 45th season on September 28 with host Woody Harrelson, the cast will be missing a familiar face.

Comedian Leslie Jones has chosen not to return for the new season of Saturday Night Live, opting to focus more on her feature film career and upcoming stand-up special for Netflix. But the good news is Jones’ increasingly busy and endlessly talented Ghostbusters co-star Kate McKinnon has signed on for the new season. Find out all about Leslie Jones leaving Saturday Night Live below.

The Hollywood Reporter has word on Leslie Jones leaving Saturday Night Live for (hopefully) greener pastures. Jones has been part of SNL since 2014 when she joined the late night sketch series as a writer. After making popular appearances on Weekend Update during early shows of the 40th season, Jones was bumped up to being a featured player and eventually became a full fledged cast member. At 47 years old, that made her the oldest addition to the SNL cast ever, and now she’s done.

Jones was never a breakout star on SNL, though she did have her moments, especially on Weekend Update when she did bits that likely would have ended up in a stand-up routine, and she even earned an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress in both 2017 and 2018. But even so, her big shortcoming was not having a roster of characters or impressions that made her a vital part of the series. Instead, she often played some kind of version of herself, or the straight woman in a given sketch reacting to the over-the-top hilarity around her. Thankfully, her departure doesn’t leave SNL without a black female cast member since they hired Ego Nwodim not too long ago.

The actress does have a few feature film projects coming up, and I’m betting they would have kept her from dedicating time to SNL. That includes the sequel Coming 2 America, in which she plays the mother to the illegitimate son of Eddie Murphy’s character Prince Akeem. She’ll also star in Queenpins with Kristen Bell, the story of the largest counterfeit coupon caper in history and I Am Maurice with Chris Rock, an inspirational tale about a Haitian immigrant who comes to America after the earthquake of 2010 to fulfill his dream of being a boxer.

So far, Jones is the only cast member leaving Saturday Night Live this season. Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Colin Jost, McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson and Melissa Villasenor are all supposed to be back as regular cast members, and Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim and Chris Redd will all return as featured players.

Saturday Night Live returns last month, and we hope everyone else will still be sticking around.

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