Why Jenny Slate Should Be On Your Radar

by Rachel Simon

When you see Obvious Child , a romantic comedy opening on Friday, you will immediately think two things: 1) "man, this movie is funny and important and I am so glad it exists," and 2) "holy crap, Jenny Slate is going to be huge." Slate, an actress best known for a one-season stint on SNL and recurring roles on shows like Parks & Rec, is fantastic in Child, and early reviews have rightly hailed the film as the project that'll finally make her a star.

And it's about time. Although Slate has been a Hollywood regular for years, she's never achieved the same type of fame as her co-stars. She's that familiar face in the background, that funny actress you know from somewhere, but just can't place. Now, however, thanks to Obvious Child, that's all about to change. If things go as they should, Slate will soon have more doors opening for her than ever before, able to take on big, visible roles that'll make her as beloved as the comedy stars she's worked next to all this time.

For those who've followed Slate's career from the beginning, Obvious Child is not as much a "breakout role" as the culmination of years worth of the actress' work. For those who are just tuning in, consider Slate a welcome addition to an increasingly female-fronted, hilarious line-up of comedians gracing your big and small screens. Here's everything you need to know about her:

She's "That Girl Who Cursed on SNL"

Weirdly enough, the show Slate is currently best known for fired her after just one season. In 2009, Slate joined the cast of SNL and, in her first episode, accidentally said "fucking" during her very first sketch. Although the word was removed from re-runs, it was heard on the live broadcast, and very likely contributed to Slate's contract not getting renewed after the season's end. Luckily, the very public fallout increased the comedian's visibility, and she went on to score roles in plenty of non-SNL shows and movies, including many where saying the F-word was not only allowed, but encouraged.

This is Her Second Time Starring in Obvious Child

Back in 2009, Slate was cast in the main role of Gillian Robespierre's 23-minute short film, Obvious Child. The movie was released online to positive reviews, and was watched by over 40,000 people on Vimeo. Due to the response, Robespierre decided to turn the short into a feature film, and Obvious Child, the full-length version, was born.

She's Behind The Cutest Snail Video You've Ever Seen

Obvious Child viewers who are only discovering Jenny Slate are bound to have a weird sense of deja vu; they may never have seen her before, but they'll certainly have heard her speak. Slate voiced Marcel the Shell, the adorably self-conscious shell from the eponymous Youtube video that went viral in 2010. Along with her husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp, Slate wrote the clip and its sequel, as well a Marcel-themed children's book.

She's Rebooting Looney Tunes

Warner Bros

The reboot that nobody asked for but everybody wanted is coming together, and Slate can take a whole lot of the credit. In 2012, she was hired as the screenwriter of an upcoming Looney Tunes live action/CGI hybrid movie, and while not much has been released about the film's progress since, you can be sure your favorite childhood cartoon characters are in good hands. The movie's producers include Dreamworks' David Katzenberg, Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and Harry Potter producer David Heyman. You're going to want to see this.

She's Been on All Your Favorite Comedy Shows

Post-SNL, Slate took on roles in shows like Bored to Death and Ugly Americans. More recently, she's appeared on Girls, Raising Hope, Kroll Show, House of Lies, Bob's Burgers and, of course, Parks and Recreation (above), where she plays a character generally considered "the worst person in the world." As Mona-Lisa, a totally insane kleptomaniac who makes her twin brother Jean-Ralphio look normal, Slate is consistently the funniest person in the room — and that's saying a lot, when you consider the people she's working right next to.

And She's Starring On Your Next Favorite TV Show This Summer


Here's a comedy lover's dream line-up: Nat Faxon, Judy Greer, Paul Reiser, Brett Gelman, and Jenny Slate. They're all starring on Married (above), a new FX show set to premiere in July that's bound to be wonderful, if that cast is to judge. Slate will have a supporting turn as Reiser's character's young, insecure wife, but if it's anything like her past TV shows, count on her to steal every scene she's in.