ABOVE PHOTO: Cast of the 2016 Ghostbusters, from left; Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon.
Interview with Kam Williams
Comedienne Leslie Jones was hired as a writer by Saturday Night Live in 2014 and quickly gained popularity after a memorable on-air appearance during the show’s “Weekend Update” segment. So, she was subsequently officially invited to join SNL’s ensemble cast during the show’s 40th season.
Earlier this year, Jones shared the stage with Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg in an epic Academy Awards sketch in a montage re-imagining some classic, Oscar-winning films with black actors. Her movie credits include Chris Rock’s Top Five, Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, and the upcoming Masterminds, co-starring Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig.
Currently, Jones can be seen on TV in an Allstate Insurance commercial that’s in heavy rotation.
Kate McKinnon is also an SNL cast member and has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for her work on the show. Since coming aboard in April 2012, she has entertained viewers with her critically-acclaimed impersonations of Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres.
McKinnon was recently seen in Sisters opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and as the voices of Wife Fish in Finding Dory and of Stella in The Angry Birds Movie. In December, she’ll co-star opposite Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston in Office Christmas Party.
Kam Williams: Hi Leslie, hi Kate. Thanks for the interview.
Kate McKinnon: [Shouts] Kam! how are you?
Leslie Jones: Hey, Kam.
KW: I’m doing great, and I absolutely loved this film.
KM: Oh, thank you, Kam.
KW: I liked how the movie paid homage to the original and brought back a lot of its cast members while breaking new ground in its own hilarious fashion.
KM: I think that’s what we were trying to do. We’re both huge fans of the original, but it was just too good to just leave it buried, so [director] Paul Feig wanted to put a fresh take on it, and I think we managed to achieve that.
KW: You certainly did. I love Paul’s work. In fact, his movie Bridesmaids, was my pick as the #1 film of the year on my Top 100 List for 2011, a rarity for a comedy. And this film ranks right up there with Bridesmaids.
KM: Wow! Thank you. That means a lot, because Bridesmaids is one of my all-time favorites. I think that Paul started something of a mini-revolution when he made that film. And this movie is a continuation of that.
KW: Leslie, I love your Allstate Insurance commercial. Want my number?
LJ: No! [Laughs heartily]
KW: What’s it like to be in good hands?
KM: It’s a little scary, man.
KW: Kate, I like your Mastercard “Less Typing, More Dancing” commercial, too. May I dip you?
KM: Well, I’ve been dipped so many times that I have vertigo from all the dipping.
KW: In September, we’re going to see both of you in the movie Masterminds. How did you enjoy making that film?
KM: That was a while ago but, man, did we have fun.
LJ: Ooh! Nashville was great!
KM: Leslie and I went out and ate our weight in chocolates one night.
LJ: There was also a place there that had great shrimp and grits. Oh, it was so good!
KM: And Jared Hess, the director, we love. He’s such a funny guy.
LJ: Yeah, Jared’s funny, and he’s so nice, too.
KW: Back to Ghostbusters. What was the most challenging part of shooting this film?
KM: Was it the stunts?
LJ: Yeah, I would say all the physical stuff. That was challenging, because I think Paul forgot we were comediennes.
KM: No, he remembered. He just forgot to tell us about the stunts. [Both laugh]
KW: Kate, what is your favorite impersonation to do?
KM: Hmm… Well… It’s really tough to say. Probably Justin Bieber just because of the dancing.
KW: How was it different for the two of you to be making a movie together as opposed to doing “Saturday Night Live?”
KM: What was it like? Well, thank God for Leslie, since we knew each other really well. Being in a movie this big was was sort of a new experience for both of us. We would turn to each other frequently and go, “Where are we? What’s happening? Are we messing this up? We must be messing this up?”
KM: She really helped me through the whole experience because it’s daunting to walk onto a set with Kristen [Wiig] and Melissa [McCarthy] who are two of my favorite comediennes of all time, even though there also two of the nicest people in the world.
KW: Leslie, what did you channel in order to come up with your character, Patty?
LJ: It wasn’t hard. Paul kind of based a lot of her on my realness and how I like to keep it real. But I enjoyed the historian part of her personality, too, because I got to show another side of myself.
KM: You are a historian in real life. Leslie taught me more about the history of rap than I ever could have imagined. Straight Outta Compton came out while we were filming, and you taught me every single thing about the history of rap.
LJ: Oh, my God! That was such a fun night! We shoved a bottle into the… [Clams up] We probably shouldn’t talk about that part. [Both LOL]
KM: Anyway, you gave me lectures about rap all summer. I took notes on the stuff you taught me.
KW: One thing I really liked about Ghostbusters was how each of the four leads was able to showcase her own distinct brand of humor. I thought that was fabulous.
KM: Thank you. I think Paul really wanted to have no overlap. And I don’t think there was any overlap. This was four different kinds of gals and he just let us do our thing. And we got along really well and it was so much fun.
KW: And what did you channel to come up with your character, Holtzmann?
KM: Oh, honey, that’s just me. I didn’t have to do a lot of work there. I really like science. I try to have a joyful attitude. And often I say weird stuff without meaning to.
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
LJ: Ooh, good question! I cook a mean pork chop. Fried pork chops.
KM: I like to throw a paella party. It’s a full event with paella, salad, appetizers and stuff. It’s a full event.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
KM: That’s an interesting question. I would hope that I see what I look like, but I’m not sure. [Chuckles]
LJ: I see a crazy person, literally! [LOL] Someone who’s insane in the membrane. [Laughs some more]
KM: That’s what I see for myself, too, which is why we’re such good buds, right?
LJ: Exactly! because we respect the craziness.
KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
LJ: Oh, homey!
KM: She can’t say that for the papers, honey.
LJ: That’s not for publication, baby.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks that you wish someone would?
LJ: Yeah, no one ever asks me what role do I really want to play.
KW: Okay, what would be your dream role?
LJ: I want to do a biography of Pearl Bailey. I think she’s awesome.
KM: Kate, is there any question no one ever asks that you wish someone would?
LJ: No, they’ve run the gamut with me.
KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?
KM: I’m a big introvert, I’m very quiet, and I like to sit in silence at home with my cat, Nino, who is my whole world, or most of it. So, that’s different. I don’t know whether you get that or not. It’s a total surprise, but I can believe it. interesting.
LJ: I am clean when you see me on the red carpet. I’ve washed myself and put on makeup and combed my hair. [Giggles]
KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?
LJ: Ooh, that’s another good question.
KM: There are a lot of places in the world I’d like to visit, like Laos, but I don’t know whether I’ll ever make it there. I’d love to go to Laos and Kazakhstan and some other places I wouldn’t feel comfortable traveling to alone. But I haven’t found anyone to go with me yet. Maybe soon.
LJ: I’ve always wanted to go somewhere exotic by yacht, but I’ve never done that yet. Sorry.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Leslie and Kate. Best of luck with Ghostbusters, and I hope to talk to you both again for the premiere of Masterminds.
LJ: Thanks, Kam.
KM: Have a good day.
To see Leslie Jones’ Allstate Insurance commercial, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghl19lJJ_mA
To see Kate McKinnon’s Mastercard commercial, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tfy7J-0Duw
To see a trailer for Ghostbusters, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3ugHP-yZXw