Speaking with NPR, Jones said she was constantly shown as a loud caricature on the long-running show.
“At SNL, they take that one thing and they wring it,” Jones told NPR. “They wring it because that’s the machine. So whatever it is that I’m giving that they’re so happy about, they feel like it’s got to be that all the time, or something like that.”
Although she understood the traits that made her funny, Jones said it was disappointing to see that she was told to repeat the same characteristics over and over again.
She said, So it was, like, a caricature of myself, you know what I’m saying? So it was like, now either I’m trying to love on the white boys or beat up on the white boys, or I’m doing something just, like, loud. I knew once I did these things, though—I knew it was going to happen, because I know the power of them.”
Jones referred back to a lesson she learned from retired SNL member Taran Killam.
“Taran wanted to do so much other stuff,” Jones said. “But they would only have Taran in those very masculine [roles] and singing and stuff and I said, ‘Oh! This is a machine.'”
Although she is disappointed with how she was portrayed, Jones still defends SNL creator Lorne Michaels.
“In his defense, I used to always be like, ‘He’s a puppet master,'” she said. “So he has to make the cast happy, he has to make the writers happy. He has to make the WGA happy. He has to make NBC happy. Then he has to make a family in Omaha, Nebraska, who’s watching the show happy.’ Imagine the strings that have to go out to him? So it’s a machine that has to work, you know?”
Jones joined SNL in 2014 and left the show in 2019. The 56-year-old entertainer has now released her memoir, Leslie F**king Jones. The book details the ups and downs Jones has experienced in her career, as well as the challenges she has overcome since childhood. The actress reveals in her memoir that a babysitter sexually abused her when she was a child.
“Man, I wish I could go back and fight that guy – that little girl couldn’t protect herself,” Jones wrote in her book.
The actress also opens up about many other obstacles she faced, including losing both of her parents, who died of heart-related illnesses, according to People.
“When I’m telling the stories of the things that I’m going through at those times, the emotions come up because it’s like, ‘Damn, that was really hard. How was I getting through that?'” Jones told USA Today. “The stuff about my brother, talking about the death of my people, just personal things, dating-wise, life-wise. I think all of it was hard.”