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Leslie Jones Joins "Saturday Night Live" As Cast Member

Jones, who has been writing for the show since January, will be SNL's second black female cast member this year, after Sasheer Zamata was hired earlier in January.

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Leslie Jones is joining Saturday Night Live as a cast member, Deadline reported Monday. Jones will make her debut during Saturday's show hosted by Jim Carrey.

Jones has been a writer for SNL since January and has been featured many times on screen in Weekend Update, causing a stir for her skit on slavery. It is common for the show to promote from within its own staff.

SNL has faced criticism recently for its lack of diversity. The cast's lack of black female members was obvious and awkward for the show, as no one was able to play some of the most important figures in politics and pop culture.

In response to the criticism, the show held an audition exclusively for black women and then hired Sasheer Zamata in January, making her the first black female cast member on the show since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. Shortly afterward, SNL hired Jones and LaKendra Tookes as writers.

Jones, who will continue to write for the show, joins Pete Davidson as the second new cast member for the fall season.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

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