Jenny Slate is living proof of her own philosophy: “There’s not just one way to do comedy.”
Slate has done standup and sketch comedy, viral videos and Web series, including the crazy-popular “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.” She even did a season of “Saturday Night Live.” These days, if you turn on the TV, you might catch her dating Aziz Ansari on “Park and Rec,” belittling Lena Dunham on “Girls” or trying out various characters on “Kroll Show.” Slate has even juicier roles in two upcoming series, Stephen Merchant’s “Hello Ladies” for HBO and Andrew Gurland’s new FX sitcom.
“I have my hand in so many different pots, I’m a witch,” jokes Slate, who also dreams of tackling dramatic roles. “I always wanted to be Dianne Wiest or Diane Keaton or another great Diane.”
Recently, she got to do some real acting in indie feature “Obvious Child” opposite longtime comedy accomplice Gabe Liedman. The two met during their freshman year at Columbia. “I wouldn’t be doing comedy if it wasn’t for Gabe. He gave me my very first bit of encouragement,” says Slate, who will co-host a live version of their “Bestie by Bestie” show at L.A.’s Upright Citizens Brigade in August.
Onstage, Slate has been known to share such intimate details as how she finds “Space Jam” strangely erotic — which has nothing to do with being tapped to write the new Looney Tunes movie, she insists. “It bums me out when classic characters are given a hoodie and sunglasses,” Slate says. “I never felt it was appropriate for them to say, ‘That’s whack,’ or something like that.”