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Leslie Jones Is Leaving "Saturday Night Live"

Jones has worked on the show since 2014.

Posted on August 27, 2019, at 4:51 p.m. ET

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Actor, comedian, and writer Leslie Jones is leaving Saturday Night Live, where she's worked since 2014, BuzzFeed News has confirmed.

The comedian's departure comes ahead of the show's Season 45 premiere on Sept. 28, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Jones, who began on the show as a writer before moving up to a featured player, is exploring other avenues, including film opportunities and a Netflix comedy special, according to Variety.

Representatives for Jones and NBC did not immediately return a request for comment.

Jones' involvement on the show came out of a hiring initiative back in 2014 to make the longtime comedy series more diverse.

She was hired as a writer along with LaKendra Tookes.

Sasheer Zamata was also hired around this time, making her the first black woman to join the cast since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007.

Though there were times when Jones' sketches arguably missed the mark, her inclusion on the show was much needed in a landscape where white male comedians usually dominated.

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Since its debut in 1975, SNL has poorly represented black women comics. Rudolph, Danitra Vance, Yvonne Hudson, and Ellen Cleghorne are just a few of the notable names who have come and gone over the years — some were only featured players while others became full cast members.

And comedians from other marginalized groups continue to be incredibly underrepresented on the show.

Jones' absence will leave behind a legacy of shining moments on the show, like her expert parody of the Gayle King interview with singer R. Kelly.

In 2017 and 2018, she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. This year, she's been nominated for cowriting lyrics to a song featured on SNL.

It's not all sad news, however — Kate McKinnon, who has been on SNL since 2012, will return for the show's 45th season.

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