It’s likely you know her from her work on Parks and Recreation or her star turns in the hit films Venom and Obvious Child, but Jenny Slate is constantly adding hyphens to her creative skillset. Last year she released her first standup special, Stage Fright, on Netflix, and her beloved video and book series, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, has enjoyed a decade of popularity. Now, with her career put on pause by the pandemic, Slate says her days have been steadied by a combination of swimming and Buddhist texts. It’s a routine and ritual that helps her find peace in a tumultuous time.
Her latest film, The Sunlit Night, will be available for streaming on July 17. Slate stars as Frances, a young artist looking to escape from a breakup, her parents’ divorce, and a painting career that’s not going as planned. She decamps to an apprenticeship in a tiny town in Norwegian Lapland populated by a gaggle of quirky characters including would-be Viking Zach Galifianakis and a high-society Russian woman played by Gillian Anderson—and of course, plenty of Norway’s famous sweet and savory brown cheese is consumed. Slate describes the filming as a joyful, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and her anecdotes about her time spent on location are almost as captivating as her response to our age-old hot dog vs. sandwich inquiry. Almost.
The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Jenny Slate: A hot dog, it’s its own special thing. And by the way, hot dogs are one of my favorite foods, but my top favorite food, just like Joey Tribbiani, is the sandwich.
TO: So, you’re an expert on both hot dogs and sandwiches.
JS: I don’t understand why you would think that a hot dog was like the sandwich, but I understand the bread and stuff with a hot dog. Hot dogs are so special they deserve their own thing. I love hot dogs and I don’t like it when they’re all dressed up or when they’re not really a hot dog, but they’re like a sausage. I just want a normal Ballpark or Hebrew National hot dog. And I really want to eat like three at a time.