Jenny Slate’s comedy career has weaved through a wider-than-usual breadth of pop culture’s usual channels, from acting in indie dramedies like 2014's Obvious Child, to viral pleasures like online video series Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, to, even earlier than that, the more traditionalist route of a single-season stint on Saturday Night Live. And while she’s currently moving even further into the limelight—with a new Netflix special, Stage Fright, out this week, and a book of short stories, Little Weirds, swiftly following—Slate also took some time in a recent interview to address what, exactly, happened during her short-lived time at Studio 8H.
The usual story is a pretty straightforward one: Slate said “Fuck” on live TV, then got the boot. (It’s similar to what happened to Charles Rocket during a Dallas-themed sketch in 1981, although Jon Lovitz, Paul Shaffer, and Norm Macdonald all managed to survive similar gaffes.) But, talking to InStyle this week, the author and comic refuses to let that single moment define why she was fired from the series. Instead, it’s a lot simpler, and sounds a lot more mutual. “I didn’t belong there,” Slate said, after denying that the “fuck” was the reason she was ousted. “I didn’t do a good job, I didn’t click. I have no idea how Lorne felt about me. All I know is, it didn’t work for me, and I got fired.” All of which is kind of backed up by the fact that Slate dropped said F-bomb in her very first episode—a biker sketch with Kristen Wiig—but continued to appear throughout the 2009 season.
In any case, Slate is pretty clearly sick of talking about this all:
I am a woman who has made so much of her own work, and I’ve had a variety of successes—some small, some personal, some public. I’m a New York Times best-selling children’s author, all of this stuff that is so intentional and worthy, but people often want to frame my success as an ascent from one failure that was the decision of some man who didn’t understand me 10 years ago. I just wonder, if I were a man, would people be so obsessed with the fact that I said a swear?