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Leslie Jones On Playing a MTA Worker: 'Why Can't a Regular Person Be a Ghostbuster?'

Illustration for article titled Leslie Jones On Playing a MTA Worker: Why Cant a Regular Person Be a Ghostbuster?

The trailer for the Ghostbusters remake, released on Thursday, left more than a few people confused—particularly concerning the tag line about four scientists saving New York, since Leslie Jones’ character is actually an MTA worker (turned scientist, maybe).


Some of the criticism focused on Jones being seemingly relegated to a blue-collar role while the white actresses (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon) were made scientists; other critics just continued to dislike Jones’ slapstick brand of humor, something she’s gotten criticized for since her early Saturday Night Live days.

Anyone who’s consistently watched Leslie, however, realizes she relishes in this wackiness—I didn’t look that deeply into it. Jones herself is aware of the feedback from those claiming she’s playing a “stereotype.” Early Friday morning, she posted a letter from a MTA employee who thanked her for humanizing a working class gig that’s often belittled.


The MTA worker writes, “The fact that my position as a clerk is the most abused by society, I feel this may give us a semblance of humanness.”

Altogether, Jones’ series of tweets reads:

I received this from a MTA worker:

Hey Leslie, thanks for being you. A question was asked by a news writer about your role on your new movie black actresses. This was my response: I work for the MTA in that role as a Token Boof Clerk and I was happy to see my job, something which provides me with plenty of jokes, a great perspective on society, and a birds eye view of horrible shit that I witness everyday on screen.

(I wished Leslie would have hooked me up...a joke) however, the fact that my position as a clerk is the most abused by society, I feel this may give us a semblance of humanness. That’s what I attempted in my one woman show “Swipe This! My Life in Transit” That glass in the boof have folk thinking I’m invisible, that I’m not a college graduate, and a producer, comedian, writer, actor, etc. I’m a verb. I’m not a college graduate, and a producer, comedian, writer, actor, etc. I’m a verb. I’m not a miserable, neck-rolling, stereotype in civil service

I love my job and I enjoy engaging people with information infused with humor. Leslie is a comedian. She’s a larger than life personality and it’s the first thing we see no matter what role she gets. As she grows, she will be able to tap into all her greatness. I am supporting this movie because I see me. I hope you receive all that’s for you. You looked so cute in the uniform. Congrats Sis.

I’ve spent many, many days hating and/or internally cursing a MTA worker, not necessarily as an individual but as part of New York’s inept system. But yes, they are real people. Jones’ response to the criticism:


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Image screengrab via YouTube

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The Noble Renard

It’s a somewhat odd controversy considering that Winston Zeddemore, the character played by Ernie Hudson in the original films, becomes a Ghostbuster without having any scientific background and just having answered a classified ad. He even says in the movie when asked if he believes in the paranormal “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.”

So clearly Leslie Jones is supposed to just be that character, again.

/Wikipedia informs me that in the original script for Ghostbusters the character was supposed be the smartest and most capable scientist in the group, but in later drafts he was changed to be the “everyman” role who put things in terms the audience would understand. So, to me the real culprit here is the original Ghostbusters that took what was supposed to be an awesome badass but neutered it later.

//also, Leslie Jones in everything, she is a queen and my second-favorite person on SNL right now (behind only Kate McKinnon).