Jenny Slate: A Comedic Voice Captures The LOL Zeitgeist

Photo by Eric Ray Davidson. Jenny wears black slip by Prada and denim jacket by Rag & Bone. Styled by Rachel Pincus.

After getting fired from Saturday Night Live in 2010, Jenny Slate was understandably feeling pretty low. It was fellow comedian Nick Kroll who brought her confidence back, and brought it back fast. “He was the only person in the comedy community who wanted to hire me — for the pilot of his show,” says Slate, who went on to co-star in his sidesplitting avant-garde comedy, the Kroll Show, quickly earning a devoted and meme-laden following for her vacuous public relations girl Liz B. on the recurring sketch “PubLIZity.” Those memes kept flowing, thanks to the success of her own animated Web series Marcel the Shell, which she co-wrote with her husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp.

But it wasn’t until summer 2014 that audiences saw what an incredible force Slate could be on the big screen. Thrust into the spotlight for her starring turn in Gillian Robespierre’s abortion movie wrapped in a romantic comedy, Obvious Child, Slate gave the most dramatic and vulnerable performance of her career. “Being in the public eye because of something that I did on purpose, and something that included a refinement of my skill set as an actor, was really nice,” she says. “Also it being a project that addressed social issues and how women are portrayed in the media — it meant twice as much to me.”

Taking her cues from comedic geniuses like Gilda Radner and Madeline Kahn, Slate has complexity and passion behind her tireless demeanor. Over and over she’s nailed the moment in pop culture and seen where it’s headed. A lot of times this has something to do with finding depth where you would expect only superficiality. When it comes to the Kroll Show, Slate brilliantly describes the series as “taking garbage and making an actual useful statement out of it.”

“I’m just not interested in being the nice but plain girlfriend who gets a joke here and there. Or the wife rolling her eyes because her husband wants to smoke pot or something stupid,” Slate says. “I don’t know that person, I don’t like that person, and I don’t want to play that person.”

Read our extended interview with Jenny Slate HERE.

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