CSU alumna Leslie Jones returns to where her comedy took root

Nicole Towne

Leslie Jones in interview after show discussing what got her started in comedy.
Leslie Jones in interview after show discussing what got her started in comedy.

Wearing distressed skinny jeans and a CSU v-neck, alumna and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones took the stage at the Lory Student Center as part of  the CSU Comedy Series, where she cracked jokes on topics like relationships and dog-lovers.

Jones, who is also starring in Ghostbusters, which premiers in July, returned to CSU to perform at the place that inspired her to pursue comedy.

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“It feels so weird to make a full circle back to this shit,” Jones said during her performance Saturday.

Transferring from Chapman College in Orange, California in 1987, Jones briefly attended CSU on a basketball scholarship. Due to her transfer status, she was forced to redshirt for the season and did not get the chance to play in a single game.

What was impactful about her time at CSU was not her time on the court, but discovering her knack for stand-up. Her friend convinced her to compete in a campus comedy contest. It was her first time performing and she won.

“I love making people laugh,” Jones said. “I found that the key I was using to bond with people was comedy.”

With a 1.7 GPA and a loss of interest in basketball, Jones decided to leave CSU for Los Angeles to peruse her true passion, comedy.

Leslie Jones and CSU students group picture after her great show.
Leslie Jones and CSU students group picture after her great show.

Jones bounced around comedy clubs while working day jobs. In 2013 she joined SNL as a writer for the show, and in 2014, at the age of 47, she became a member of the cast.

Although Jones spends a great deal of her time working on SNL, she performed an uncensored and up-in-your-face set.

“My job is to remind people to laugh,” Jones said during a post-performance interview. “I’m going to piss you off, but I’m going to make you laugh.”

Without any notes, Jones performed for an hour straight and covered a variety of topics such as ethnicity, gender, texting, sex and being single.

She told the audience how she was once broken up with in a dog park by a man who was wearing Crocs and had a ponytail, and she joked about women’s crazy texting tendencies.

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Jones got face-to-face with her audience giving advice, empowerment and embracing her inner-funny.

“Don’t let no man keep you from going to school. Don’t let no man tell you who you are,” Jones said to an audience member.

Her personalized and blunt relationship advice left many people in the crowd laughing.

“She was hilarious and relatable. I love how she interacted with the crowd,” said Sydney Barrett freshman business administration major.

Other audience members not only appreciated her talent, but her CSU roots.

“I thought it was awesome. She was really funny. It’s really cool to see a successful alum,” said  Nate Day sophomore Journalism and Media Communications major.

For Jones, a lot has changed since she began comedy. She feels that it’s missing laughter and that people shy away from potentially funny material to avoid offending others. Jones is making it a goal to make people laugh.

“Comedy and laughter are a relief and we need it because we’re stressed out,” Jones said.

Collegian Reporter Nicole Towne can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @nicole_towne21.