Positively joyful, Leslie Jones puts together an infectious, loud, and funny enough comedy special showing she’s still a star, even away from the bright lights of SNL.
Leslie Jones: Time Machine debuted on Netflix on January 14th.
During the 2010s, comedian Leslie Jones became a staple at Saturday Night Live. For six years, she vaulted into the public spotlight and picked up four Emmy nominations (two shared, two individual) along the way. She starred in the Ghostbusters reboot next to megastars like Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and SNL co-star Kate McKinnon. A staple at New York comedy clubs including the world-famous Comedy Cellar, Jones, at a little over 50 years old, is still rising in star power.
Her new special, titled Leslie Jones: Time Machine, ends up being an hour of true positive energy. Receiving a standing ovation when she walks in, Jones starts with the only words she can muster, “Oh my gosh that is so dope.”
The rest of the special plays out as she discusses her different decades of maturation, from her 20s through to her 50s. Scolding the current 20-year-olds for not partying and making bad decisions, Jones proceeds to tell a hilarious story about seeing Prince and trying to get his attention on the dance floor.
Enter five minutes of Leslie Jones dancing, contorting her face into this physical comedy bit. Jones works hard during the special, and you can see her sweating by the end of it. Her commitment to her craft and her comedy shone through though, and it’s hard to not be on her side. She’s clearly having fun during this D.C. show, enjoying every minute of being on stage, and you’re having fun with her.
She slides through her 30s with jokes about old bananas, throwing them out, and then making banana bread. Without giving away the full jokes, it’s funny, but more than that, it’s light, fun, and not too complicated.
Her 40s steal the show, though, as she discusses the prayer differences between that of a 42-year-old woman and 22-year-old woman. She’s praying about being tired, about venereal diseases, and about surviving. Jones splits honesty with comedy in these 15 minutes and it becomes the strongest part of her act.
Her 50s start with a joke about not being Lebron James, and instead of building a school for kids, she’ll build a statue of herself in the Hudson River. Jones devolves into stories about her relationships and her issues with texting. She makes up a conversation, alternating between severe messages and huge apologies, followed by naked pictures. Even when she’s yelling at you, Jones stays relatable and easy to watch.
After a quick PSA, Jones uses her last 10 minutes to sit down and be honest. Her screaming and physical comedy get pushed to the side, and she just reminds the audience how happy she is to be there. Thirty years ago, she couldn’t imagine that she’d be up on that stage, an alumni member of SNL, and selling out theaters around the country.
By the end, Jones can only say one thing, and it’s what her and the audience are thinking.
“I have to say that this is f****** awesome.”
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Michael is a regular critic for Ready Steady Cut and also writes for Cinema Sentries, The Film Experience and Film Inquiry.