Leslie Jones Confirms Saturday Night Live Exit, Says She's Leaving a 'Better Performer'
Leslie Jones is departing Saturday Night Live after five seasons
One week after news broke that the comedian and actress, 51, would not be returning for season 45 of SNL at the end of September, Jones shared an Instagram montage of her many iconic skits and confirmed her exit.
“Yes, it’s true I am leaving Saturday Night Live,” Jones wrote on Tuesday, before thanking the network, producers, writers, and her costars for making the show her “second home” during her five-year run.
“Lorne Michaels, you’ve changed my life in so many ways!” she wrote of the show’s creator and producer. “Thank you for being my mentor and confidant and for always having my back. You not only have my loyalty but you have my heart!! You have shown me skills I never imagined I had. I leave a better performer because of you.”
“I will miss holding it down with Kenan everyday, I will miss Cecily’s impression of me making me laugh at myself often, I will miss Kate’s loving hugs and talks when I needed. And of course Colin, you porcelain-skinned Ken doll. I will miss all my cast mates!! Especially being at the table reads with them!!Everyone needs to know Leslie Jones couldn’t have done any of the things I did without these people.”
“One last thing – to the fans – you are the BEST!!” Jones wrote. “Thank you for all the love and support through my SNL years and I know you will be as excited as I am when you see some of the amazing projects and adventures that I have coming up very soon! Love you all!!”
The comedian concluded her lengthy post with the hashtag “#iamnotdeadjustgraduating,” and signed it “Leslie.”
Jones first joined the NBC comedy sketch series in 2014 as a writer. She quickly became a prominent cast member during the “Weekend Update” segments, earning three Emmy nominations during her five seasons.
She will now be focusing on her new Netflix standup special, set to air in 2020. The special will begin filming in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10, which she revealed last weekend on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
She is also set to star in The Angry Birds Movie 2 as the evil villain Zeta.
Although Jones will not be returning, main SNL cast members Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Strong and Thompson are all set to star in the upcoming 45th season.
Despite McKinnon’s contract ending in May after seven seasons, she has reportedly closed a deal to return to the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
SNL returns Sept. 28 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.