By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — After five seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” Leslie Jones is enjoying a new role and being more in the spotlight as opposed to being part of an ensemble. The new host of “Supermarket Sweep,” seen Sunday nights at 7 p.m. on WKRN-2, told USA Today that she was a huge fan of the ‘90s version of the show.
“I just loved the whole game,” Jones said. “And I had a mission of winning that $5,000 (grand prize). Back in the day, $5,000 was a lot of money. Now, I didn’t know the taxes involved and I probably would have walked away with, like, $16.62, but I still wanted to win that money. It was just such an exciting show.”
In addition to being the host, Jones is a producer on the latest version of a program that began on ABC back in 1965. The new show has larger prizes, as contestants can win up to $100,000. Jones quizzes three duos on their shopping knowledge before they grab as much high-priced food as they can on a supermarket set constructed in an airport hangar. Health and safety protocols – testing, masks and social distancing – were followed as production took place last summer amid the pandemic.
Jones is less enthused in talking about her time on “Saturday Night Live,” which she left last year. “I don’t miss it. At all,” Jones said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, She said she misses former costar Kenan Thompson, but not the show itself. “That job was hard, man. That job was like two jobs, and very restrictive too. I wasn’t very free there.”
Jones first appeared in the spring of 2014 on a controversial Weekend Update segment, and became a featured player that fall, later earning two Emmy nominations for her work on the series. She announced her departure in August 2019. She has since done a Netflix comedy special in addition to hosting “Supermarket Sweep.”
“[When I was on SNL,] people would always be like, ‘Leslie, why is you messin’ up?’” Jones added. “I was like, ‘I gotta read out loud and I can’t see the [cue cards]!’” Comparing that experience to her work on “Supermarket Sweep,” she says, “Here, I gotta have a [rapport] with the contestants and I still got to read all this text. So, yeah, it was difficult. But because of stand-up, I was able to make it… through Leslie Jones’ eyes.”
Jones will also appear alongside her fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Eddie Murphy in the upcoming sequel “Coming 2 America.”