Matt Winkelmeyer

The comedian will grace the stage for the highly-anticipated event.

Danielle Kwateng-Clark
May, 24, 2017

The 17th Annual BET Awards is going to be more lit than usual, as the show is welcoming Leslie Jones as its host.

The Saturday Night Live cast member will be gracing the stage for the event that honors the best in Black entertainment. 

“BET was the first place I ever did comedy on TV, so it’s a full-circle moment of coming home where I started,” Jones, 49, tells PEOPLE. “I went out in the world and did what I needed to do and now I can come home to my people and say, ‘Yo! Look what I did!'”

It's been 10 years since the award show had a female stand-up comedian host the show, which was done by Mo'Nique three times in the early 2000s. 

For the show, which brought in 7.2 million viewers in 2016, Jones plans to uplift by keeping attendees and viewers laughing throughout the night. 

“I am tired of everybody being sad and angry. I want people to just downright laugh. You can’t do the event without touching on certain things, but I’m trying to make it all funny. It’s really just about pulling the elephants out of the room and, actually, I’ll make the elephant in the room laugh about it,” says Jones. 

“So my goal for this show is to have a big ‘ol nice barbecue, family reunion feel. I just want everyone cracking up. I want everyone leaving that event going, ‘Wait, did they even give awards out? I was too busy laughing.'”

The 2017 BET Awards will air live Sunday, June 25 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET.