Elite athletes dedicate years of training to reaching the Olympics, but American comedian Leslie Jones has been summoned to Rio after just a few days exercising her funny bone from her sofa.
The “Saturday Night Live” and “Ghostbusters” star has been watching the Summer Games from her living room and hilariously live-tweeting almost every event — earning her an call-up to join NBC’s coverage.
Since Friday, Jones has become a viral sensation with a series of short smartphone clips — sometimes in awe of the athletes’s prowess, other times bemused by some of the more obscure sports and passionately yelling her support for Team USA.
The comedian and actress started with a video of herself dancing, decked out in Stars and Stripes leggings and matching sleeveless top, draped in the US flag and wearing plastic gold medals.
“Wow they have countries in the Olympics I’ve never heard of!! So awesome,” she tweeted.
NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell later saw her feed and responded: “You’re officially invited to Rio. Want to come?”
Jones’s coverage of the Games marks a triumphant comeback to Twitter after she quit the network in June — devastated by a torrent of racist and sexist abuse aimed at her by trolls angry that the “Ghostbusters” remake had replaced the original male cast with women.
Starting on Friday, Jones will attend live swimming, track and field, gymnastics, and beach volleyball, meeting athletes and communicating her passion for the Olympics on-air and online, NBC said.
“We’re thrilled to have Leslie come to the Olympics. She’s a member of the family, and her passion for the Olympics is remarkable,” Bell said in a statement.
Jones, who was hired by SNL as a writer in 2014 and quickly joined the cast, posted dozens of memorable video clips over the weekend with unabashedly patriotic voiceovers.
“I don’t know how to swim Myra but I will learn!! Lmao GO GO GO GO TEAM. USA!!” she posted after seeing Maya Dirado pick up silver in the 400m individual medley.
“Damn I need five TVs I can’t catch every event!” she concluded as she got into the swing of things on Saturday.
The support from Team USA’s newest superfan has not gone unnoticed by the athletes themselves, who are drawing inspiration from her tweets.
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about when ya’ll talkin’ about women ain’t warriors,” Jones enthused over a clip of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross winning in straight sets in the beach volleyball tournament.
“We’re warriors, you guys. And we’ve been warriors, and we’ll stay warriors. THAT’S RIGHT!”
After the victory, Walsh Jennings tweeted at Jones: “We felt YOU!!!!!!! Indomitable spirit is always our goal and you have it in spades. Thank you soooooo very much.” (AFP)