SNL’ star Leslie Jones makes the Mirage her personal playground

Leslie Jones took too long to get to her best material July 29 at the Mirage.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

Three stars

Leslie Jones July 29, Mirage.

Lightning in a bottle. At their best, it’s what certain comedians can catch—those moments so hilarious, so personal and so in the moment their audiences will never forget them. Leslie Jones caught lightning in a bottle Friday night at the Mirage, but it took about 45 minutes for her to do so.

The actress/comedian opened by addressing her newfound fame. Currently starring in the Ghostbusters reboot, she’s now a household name. “I’ve never had so many white folks love me. You all motherf*ckers trying to make me take pictures with your babies and sh*t. Stop that sh*t. I’m scared. The baby’s scared.”

She then proceeded to lay out a road map for the rest of the evening. “It ain’t gonna be nothing like SNL, motherf*ckers. Ain’t no censors here, so if you want to leave, then leave. It’s gonna be a whole bunch of dick jokes.” Jones, who has both fanatics and detractors of her work on Saturday Night Live, seemed to mostly kill on this night, but it was often with those dick jokes, the path of least resistance.

Jones’ best-written jokes revolved around subjects that required a little more thought. On the sad rescue dog commercials that appear on TV late at night: “How the f*ck they make those commercials anyway? They got dog actors? So what the f*ck, you out there filming some f*cked-up sh*t? Put the camera down and give him some water! Take the chain off the dog. You’re right there!”

The 47-year-old comic brings a manic energy to the stage, bobbing and weaving, changing her tones and decibel levels to punctuate certain points. She’s quite effective at this type of performance, but where she really shined, where the lightning truly struck, was with crowd work. Toward the end of the show, she had the house lights raised as she walked through the audience, picking off members one by one like a verbal sniper.

Set amid the rise of Roast Battle-style comedy, Jones’ spur of the moment gibes were far more entertaining than anything Comedy Central put on this past weekend. Talking to a guy with a gold necklace and a silver ring: “If you want to show you got some money, just buy the drinks. Take this Katt Williams bullsh*t off. You’re not a pimp. You look like you coach a softball team.”

And her brilliant closing, picking out the pretty white girl and making her face the crowd with Jones: “You walk in and you all see me and her standing at the bar. Who you gonna pick? Okay, so we in the parking lot now. There’s some Crips wanna whoop yo’ ass. Who you gonna pick now?!”

That’s the type of magic worth the wait to get there.

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