Jenny Slate opens up

Sarah Posted by Sarah at March 21, 2017 16:47:37 March 21, 2017 16:47:37

When Jenny Slate comes up in Chris Evans’ interview with Esquire, “you can almost feel his heart pinch”, and he doesn’t talk about it. But when Chris Evans comes up in Jenny Slate’s interview with New York Magazine, she proceeds to talk about him for the next three thousand-plus words. Of Chris Evans’ profile, Lainey wasn’t sure she had “really gotten to know” him, but the same cannot be said of Jenny Slate. She approaches her celebrity profile like she really wants us to know her, in this moment anyway, and in the process she tells us a lot about herself, particularly her struggle to come to terms with herself as an individual, and she tells us a lot about her very famous ex-boyfriend.

Slate is a comedian, complete with a comedian’s impulse to overshare, and Slate is genuinely asking a lot of important questions of herself, and being unafraid to share that process. She says that, at 34, this is the first time she’s really lived alone, and she’s discovering the kinds of things she likes for herself, which includes frou-frou pillows and whimsical animal figurines. She’s dealing with the fallout of her divorce, which was finalized within weeks of her breakup with Evans. Jenny Slate might be going through some sh*t, but she doesn’t sound down in the mouth about it.

Which is f*cking IRRESISTIBLE. If you weren’t charmed by Slate before, it’s impossible to resist her here, when she’s so frank and open about her emotions and her analysis doesn’t come off as self-involved but deeply self-aware. With the Gifted press tour looming, and the prospect of doing press side-by-side with her ex, she says, “I feel pretty relaxed about it right now. […] That’s because I know Chris and he’s a very nice man. And we’ve gone into our separate lives. But that doesn’t also mean that I’m going to sleep well the night before, you know?” That’s just so honest, and relatable. Who hasn’t dreaded seeing an ex again even as you tell yourself you’re going to be fine?

She’s incredibly complimentary of Evans, whom she calls “really vulnerable”, “really straightforward”, and “like primary colors”, with “big, beautiful, strong emotions”. I wonder how much he really appreciates his ex detailing her emotional recovery from their relationship, but as was the case when they were together, Slate is making him look good. Their breakup looked a little callus, like he could handle a relationship when he had the leisure time, but when it became actual work to balance his career and personal life, guess which one got axed?

But without directly saying what the final straw was—although she does say they “threw down pretty hard”—Slate makes it sound like a case of two strong-willed people being in different places in their lives, especially since she was coming out of the end of her marriage, and she’s honest enough to admit she kind of dodged that fallout by jumping into a situation with Evans. How can you not like this person?

Feud is very concerned with the façades women construct to survive in an inhospitable, male-driven world, but if Jenny Slate has constructed a façade, it’s the illusion of there being no façade. It would be so easy for Slate to gin it up and play the broken-hearted damsel, taken in by a false prince charming, and get herself some sympathy headlines. But she doesn’t do that, and the headlines she’s getting are for being kind about her ex and honest about her emotions. This interview makes her not just accessible but tangible, and it will be interesting to see if this quality survives as her profile continues to rise. And it will be REALLY interesting to see what kind of comedy Jenny Slate creates next.

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Here's Jenny at SXSW last week. 

Photos:
Nicola Gell/ Sarah Kerver/ Getty Images

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