I’ve been watching Saturday Night Live for about two decades.
Between watching live, seeing “the best of” specials and “hey check if they have that sketch on YouTube” suggestions from my dad. I have seen the best of the best SNL has offered in its 42 season run. After watching this weekend update from this past weekend’s show I would like to proclaim Leslie Jones as my favorite cast member of all time. I would like to specify my new found adoration for the comedienne has nothing to do with her acting chops but it does have to do with her delivering what I feel is one of the most important monologues ever aired on television.
Before I continue I want to familiarize everyone with who Leslie Jones is. She’s in her third season as a cast member on SNL and before that her film credits include, Angry Subway Patron in Trainwreck, a 2012 appearance as Angry Woman on the TV series Daddy Knows Best, Trucker Woman in National Security, among others but as you can see, she may be getting type cast. Just to clarify, none of those are made up, those are the verbatim listings from her filmography on IMDB.
For those unfamiliar with her appearance she is 6 feet tall but her stocky build makes her look even larger than that and she often dwarfs her fellow cast mates on the stage at 30 Rock.
She holds the record for the oldest cast member to join SNL at 47 years old and that was two years ago. She isn’t conventionally beautiful and her facial expression often reads similar to her IMDB page, angry.
I always respected her ability to play her character well and continue it into her persona when playing “Leslie Jones” either in monologues or sketches like last season’s naked and afraid celebrity edition featuring her and host Peter Dinklage.
My perception of her changed completely after seeing her appearance on this weekend’s episode.
Introduced by Weekend Update anchor, Colin Jost, Leslie Jones appeared to give her take on the climate of internet leaks after dealing with her own hacking scandal this past summer. After explaining someone hacked into her computer and posted nude pictures that she had taken of herself she jumps into her persona and explains to the audience that she isn’t shy nor is she embarrassed by anything and “if you want to see Leslie Jones naked, just ask”. She then goes on to quickly recount anecdotes of rejection and embarrassment from her past to demonstrate that no matter what comes her way she’s faced worse on her way to being the confident woman that performs for you today.
Moving on she then tells her colleague sharing the stage with her that if she were technologically proficient enough to hack someone’s account she wouldn’t waste her time leaking pictures or documents, she’d use it to hack tinder so she’d pop up regardless of the user’s location. Colin Jost then prompts her with one final probe stating she seems unfazed by her recent invasion of privacy and that is when Leslie Jones delivered the greatest piece of advice for anyone:
“At a certain point you stop being embarrassed and you start being you and I have been me for 49 years because the only person who can hack me, is me.”
That line is perfection. Go back read it again. Once you’ve read it that second time go back and read it a third because those words, that quote, is beautiful.
When I was younger trolls were dolls with crazy colored hair or lived under a bridge harassing goats trying to cross. Today trolls are faceless and sit behind a keyboard harassing anyone on the internet. Leslie Jones stood up and gave a resounding I do not care to her faceless bullies and empowered anyone who has ever faced ridicule on the internet.
One of my biggest fears about writing for this website was what would people say. I had to think what would the faceless keyboard warrior say about my opinions and my thoughts. If you think that’s a silly concern go read the comment section on any YouTube video or article on social media. The ability to sit behind the anonymity of username brings out the worst in people and I fear that it will only get worse.
Thank You Leslie Jones for being courageous enough to take that power away. Thank you for empowering those who’s public work range from an audience of a few dozen to a few million. Thank you for your words of strength. Thank you for showing the world what it means to be comfortable with yourself. Most importantly thank you for reminding us all, that no matter what, the only thing that matters is how we see the mass in the glass, how we feel about the face staring back from the mirror, the only opinion worth our time is that of our own.