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EXCLUSIVE: Jenny Slate Talks Haunted Houses, Standup at Overnight Camp & Looney Tunes

The ‘House of Lies’ actress chatted with us about growing up in a house with a ghost, her first standup memories, being let go from Saturday Night Live, her biggest fear, and much more.

By: Ashley Baylen
Published: July 22nd, 2013 in Culture » Society » Interviews
Jenny Slate

Born and raised in a Jewish (and “artsy fartsy”) household in Milton, Massachusetts, self-described geek Jenny Slate always had a yearning to perform.

While studying at Columbia University, she formed the improv group Fruit Paunch and starred in the school’s Varsity Show. Also during that time, she met Gabe Liebman. The two went on to create comedy duo Gabe & Jenny, who staged a weekly show at the Rififi.

It was Jenny’s popular one-woman show ‘Dead Millionaire’, performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, that caught the attention of ‘Saturday Night Live’. She joined the famous late night sketch show in 2009, but was “let go” after just one season.

It could be argued that leaving ‘SNL’ was the best thing that happened to her career. Over the past 3 years, Jenny has appeared on hit shows ‘Bored to Death’, ‘Kroll Show’ and ‘House of Lies’. She is also the creator of the ‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On’ short films, which also spun-off into a children’s book, and she is currently in the process of writing the screenplay for a new ‘Looney Tunes’ feature.

We got a chance to chat with Jenny about her experience growing up in a haunted house, her firing from ‘Saturday Night Live’, her greatest fear, upcoming projects, and much more.


ASHLEY BAYLEN (AB): You recently did a YouTube video, ‘Life in a Minute.’ If you could tell your life story, what would be the format and how long would it be?

JENNY SLATE (JS): That YouTube spot was actually part of a campaign for Vice Magazine and Uniqlo. I talked for so long and I’m very impressed that they got it down to a minute. But if I had to do it-which, by the way, is striking me as a little morbid?- I would probably just tell it on stage, and it would probably take like 4 hours, but I would totally allow for snack breaks and also there’s no way that I could give you a guarantee that the story would be told in any sort of chronological order.

AB: You mentioned in the video about growing up in a haunted house, what was going on there?

JS: My dad saw a ghost when he and my mom first moved in. The fear of that ghost has basically shaped my entire personality. I was always afraid that I would see it, and I also kind of really wanted to see it, and I always felt like it was watching me, and I also loved that it was (maybe) there, because it made the world mysterious and romantic to me.

AB:You’re writing a Looney Tunes film and Marcel turned into a children’s book. What’s the trick to making something funny and entertaining for a younger audience? Is it easier or harder than humoring adults?

JS: I don’t really know! I just do what’s funny to me, what I’d like to see or read, and then also make sure that I’m enjoying myself while I do the work. Of course, I keep an eye on my audience and save some material for the adults only, but I think my intention is always the same: make the people laugh and make them happy and be happy and proud while you do it.


AB: Do you recall the first time you did comedy on stage? What was your first big event?

JS: It was probably at overnight camp, at Camp Tapawingo, where I spent 8 summers. I was shy and uncomfortable a bit in school, but at camp, I really let loose and loved doing weird skits with my bunk mates. I was really into stuffing a counselor’s bra and wearing it any chance I could get.


AB:You were famously ‘let go’ from SNL. How does being fired from a job influence you, and do you think it’s an important life experience that all should have the fortune of going through?

JS: I think that the chance to reassess, regroup, and ask yourself what you really want is one that doesn’t always wear the face of a friend. At the time, it was heartbreak of sorts, but it was also exciting. It seems like a very long time ago now. I think I will always be both happy and sad that it happened, and I will always be grateful for my time there.

Jenny talks being Jewish, her biggest fear, and upcoming projects on page 2!

Related articles: Jenny Slate, Saturday Night Live, House of Lies, Bored to Death, Marcel the Shell With Shoes on, Columbia University, Jewish, Haunted House, Ghosts, Exclusive Interview
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EXCLUSIVE: Jenny Slate Talks Haunted Houses, Standup at Overnight Camp

The ‘House of Lies’ actress chatted with us about growing up in a house with a ghost, her first standup memories, being let go from Saturday Night Live, her biggest fear, and much more.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With “Accidental Guru”, Amy B. Scher

Scher’s motivating story outlined in ‘This is How I Save My Life’ landed her a spot on The Advocate’s “40 Under 40” list for 2013.

EXCLUSIVE: Publicist Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski Talk’s TIFF’s Celebrity Gifting Lounge

Rock-it promotion’s Goldblatt-Sadowski chats with Shalom Life about Tastemakers, the first full-service, Canadian-owned and operated product placement company specializing in gifting lounges and swag bags.

EXCLUSIVE: Susan Flam Discusses This Year’s Beit Halochem Women of

Beit Halochem Canada is an organization dedicated to the aid of Israel’s injured veterans, as well as victims of terror.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Comedian and ‘WTF’ Host, Marc Maron

Marc Maron talks the art of interviewing, being Jewish, stand up comedy, and Toronto JFL42 festival.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With ‘Hardcore Pawn’ Stars Les Gold and Ashley

Les and Ashley are optimistic about America’s economy and the future of both Detroit and pawn stops.

EXCLUSIVE: Jenny Slate Talks Haunted Houses, Standup at Overnight Camp

The ‘House of Lies’ actress chatted with us about growing up in a house with a ghost, her first standup memories, being let go from Saturday Night Live, her biggest fear, and much more.

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