Jenny Slate leaves 'Saturday Night Live,' and we ask, what went wrong?
Oh, Jenny Slate, we hardly knew ye. After only one season on "Saturday Night Live," Slate received the old heave-ho and will reportedly not return to the show for its 36th season. Slate was barely on the NBC gray lady long enough to make an impression on the audience beyond her sadly infamous obscenity slip during her debut. So, what went wrong for Slate? Did that one slip of the tongue do her in? Let's examine her brief tenure on "SNL."
Tina Tina Cheneuse
Perhaps Slate's best-known character from "SNL" is Tina Tina Cheneuse, a customized car horn and doorbell saleswoman. Slate, dressed in head-to-toe jean clothing, speaks with a whiney East European-ish accent while she tries to sell nontraditional doorbells and car horns that play her saying inadvertently funny phrases. For example, when a computer nerd asks Tina Tina for a doorbell, she sells him one that plays her saying, "Ding dong--Router--Netflix--Whaaa." Overall, the sketches were pretty funny. Slate uses her awkwardness in a positive way and made the character her own. Tina Tina even has a Facebook page with more than 4,000 fans. Even though Tina Tina's day are done, she at least got to do a sketch with Jennifer "from the block" Lopez.
Hoda Kotb impression
Slate also played NBC's "Today" show host Hoda Kotb. Next to golden girl Kristen Wiig's wine-drinking, wise-cracking version of Kathy Lee Gifford, Slate felt more like a set piece than a breathing comedian. She replaced former-Kotb player Michaela Watkins, who was fired from "SNL" after one season. Maybe there's a Kotb curse on any cast member who plays her!
The obscenity slip
As much as I hope that Slate's obscenity slip didn't seal her fate, I'm afraid it did. It doesn't seem fair that a sketch revolving around a character saying "I frickin' love you" should be the end of her career on the show. But if Slate is recognizable for anything it is that one mistake, and it's hard to see her losing the title "Girl Who Swore on 'SNL'" while she's still on the show.
Of course, I could be completely wrong. Slate was a guest star on HBO's "Bored to Death," starring Mr. Hipster himself Jason Schwartzman, voiced the Twee-dorable "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" and is one half of the comedy duo Gabe & Jenny, so maybe she wanted to pursue those avenues. "SNL" isn't the right fit for every comedian, and I think Slate falls into that category.
Sarah Anne Hughes
| September 8, 2010; 7:49 AM ET
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