In addition to thoroughly roasting Seth Meyers’s attic and the “little bitty doors” behind him (“Is that a portal? Is it a portal to the land that y’all don’t want us to live in?!”), Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones had some insight to offer during last night’s Late Night when asked to reflect on the George Floyd protests. Jones, who is 52, was present for the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, and she told Meyers that the experience doesn’t make her optimistic about the protests now. “It makes me sad because I’m looking at this and I’m knowing that this is not going to work. It’s not going to do anything,” she said. “We have a president that’s standing up there calling us thugs and sending out National Guard — he’s not listening to anything that anyone’s gonna say. I think the only thing he’s gonna listen to is votes, and this is why I was telling everybody if you’re gonna change something, you have to fight the same fight that they’re fighting.”
Jones was 22 years old during the L.A. riots, so she told Meyers that she understands the perspective of young protesters today and that there’s nothing that can be said to stop them. “There was nothing you could’ve said to me back then — I was ready to burn it down,” she said, adding that while the riots led to no real consequences for the officers who beat King up, the destruction in L.A. affected black businesses for years, which Jones described as “burning down our own house.” So, given everything, what would Jones say to her 22-year-old self about the L.A. riots if she could travel back in time? “I would say ‘Don’t take that sledgehammer,’” she said, noting that she was seen as a “hero” at the time for having one. But given everything she’s experienced since then, she’d go back now and ask herself, “‘What do you think that you’re gonna change by going out here with that?’” For Jones, the only way to truly bring about change is to vote, which can then lead to a discussion about reforming the police entirely.
Watch the second clip from Jones’s interview with Meyers below: