Leslie Jones has zero chill. That's what makes her such a thrill to watch.
On her new Netflix special Leslie Jones: Time Machine, the raucous Saturday Night Live alum uses equal amounts of joy and rage–sometimes simultaneously–to show how tough it is to always be on the edge of laughing or screaming, especially in these extremely stressful times.
At the start of what will likely be a breakout year, thanks to a role in the upcoming Coming 2 America and a gig as the host of the Supermarket Sweep reboot for ABC, Jones doesn't just embrace intensely living life to its fullest—she wants more people to do the same.
"Twenty-year-olds, y'all suck," Jones says, adding that if 20-year-olds are still having fun during tumultuous times, the rest of the nation finds it comforting. "You better enjoy your damn 20s."
These days, too many twentysomethings aren't enjoying themselves, Jones says. She jokes about how so many in that age group are stressed and talk about being offended, teasing the twentysomethings in the audience about making serious choices and dressing appropriately. "You literally only been through high school," she says. "What's wrong, boo, you didn't catch Pikachu?"
What goes unsaid, though, is that the youth have plenty of reasons to worry about their futures. Legitimate unease hangs over Time Machine, symbolized by Jones' Nipsey Hussle t-shirt—which she never comments on, but which makes a similar point in almost every frame: All is not well.
For Jones, one major reason times are tougher is texting. "Who invented texting?" she screams after admitting that texting led to a recent breakup. "It wasn't a woman... Texting shows you exactly how crazy a b*tch really is. Yeah, ladies, it's in writing now."
Her dramatizations of some of her one-sided text conversations show Jones at her best. They start out with rage and declarations of "You need to respect me," which quickly turn into: "I am so sorry about that text. It was unnecessary and immature. But that's why I love you, bae. You know that I'm passionate."
Jones proposes an app that will judge your texts and ask if you are sure you want to send them. "You are at 85 percent crazy right now," she imagines the app would say. "While you're texting the one that you love, your face is not supposed to look like that."
She offers a few moments of fleeting seriousness, from cutting women some slack for sometimes cracking under societal pressure to calling for more than six weeks off for maternity leave.
To pull the whole show together, Jones wishes she could tell her younger self not to worry. "I wish I had a time machine to go back and tell my 20-year-old self it's going to be OK," she says, before imagining a conversation between her current, successful 52-year-old self and the 21-year-old version struggling to make ends meet in Compton, California.
Is it a heartwarming moment? Sort of. It doesn't quite go as planned, and Young Leslie doesn't understand her older self's warning to stop Aaliyah from sleeping with R. Kelly.
In the end, it does reinforce her message–the same one she screams at the twentysomethings wearing sensible sweaters to her show: We all need to enjoy ourselves more. We can start with Leslie Jones' morale-boosting and laugh-out-loud funny Time Machine.