Growing up in Massachusetts, Jenny Slate had three items on her bucket list: go to college, land a spot on Saturday Night Live, and act in movies. Fast-forward a few decades, and she’s accomplished all three. The Columbia University grad hit the New York stand-up circuit, then joined the SNL cast in 2009 for a single season, memorably dropping the F-bomb in her very first sketch (one she wrote, no less). ”Although I maybe couldn’t see it at the time, that job made me find my voice,” she says.
Now, in the Sundance hit Obvious Child, Slate, 32, brings her comic edge to the role of a broke, recently dumped, knocked-up aspiring comic with wine-stained teeth. ”Jenny really captures that feeling of being lost and learning how to grow from that experience,” says Child’s first-time writer-director, Gillian Robespierre.
In the past year Slate has become a poster child for quirky millennials, from her role as a superficial publicist on Comedy Central’s Kroll Show to a turn as Tom’s self-absorbed employee/girlfriend on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Even her online animated shorts featuring timid, squeaky-voiced Marcel the Shell showcase her Everygirl sensibilities. (A second Marcel book, written with husband/collaborator Dean Fleischer-Camp, is due this November.) But for her next gig, Slate wants to go glam. ”I’d really love a hair-product commercial,” she says, laughing. ”That would make me, you know, not feel so bad that my purse is filled with trash.”