Sardonic should be up-and-comer Aubrey Plaza‘s middle name. The comedic actress, best known for her role as Seth Rogen’s hipster love interest in Judd Apatow’s “Funny People,” knows her way around a good sarcastic jab. Her voice, mannerisms and bookish look are all enthused with a playful detachedness, like she’s not in on her own funny girl shtick (think Sarah Silverman’s less chipper twin sister). Judging by the rise she’s on – as evidenced by her supporting role in Edgar Wright’s massively hyped “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” – Plaza’s well aware.
Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware (not known for being the most happening of cities), Plaza got her quirk on at an early age as she recounted on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” back in February. “I followed my principal home in a box a lot. It means what it sounds like.”
After her stalking antics came to an end, Plaza packed up and moved to New York to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and put her burgeoning improv and sketch comedy skills to use at the Upright Citizens Brigade, where Amy Poehler famously got her start. As luck would have it, Plaza currently works alongside Poehler in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” playing April Ludgate, a bored intern.
Plaza told New York Magazine back in 2009 that she credits her success to the internet. Before NBC came calling, Apatow cast her in “Funny People” after catching the wry Plaza in the web comedy series, “The Jeannie Tate Show,” directed by Maggie Carey, wife of SNL’s Bill Hader. “‘Jeannie Tate’ changed my whole career,” Plaza told College Humour’s Ben Joseph back in 2009. “It got me an agent, and without that, I don’t think I’d even be talking to you.”
Although Plaza was well versed in sketch comedy, she had no stand up experience prior to “Funny People.” Since her role was that of an aspiring stand up comic, Plaza had to bring her A-game to land the part that launched her film career.
“The first time I did it was in Queens,” she said to Joseph. “I did do it just for the film – I had met with Judd and I knew the only obstacle was that I wasn’t a real stand-up. Then, when I was cast, I came out to L.A. and had to immediately start doing shows with the rest of the cast. I kind of got thrown into it, but I really liked it so I kept doing it. I’m still doing it now.”
Apart from stand up gigs, what’s next for Plaza? Currently she’s in the process of revving up the buzz surrounding “Scott Pilgrim;” most recently at Comic-Con where the film was ecstatically received. She’s also in the midst of shooting another season of “Parks and Recreation,” which was recently nominated for 2 Emmy’s. Whether lead roles are on the horizon for Plaza remains to be seen. Quirky young comediennes are usually relegated to supporting parts in Hollywood – just ask actress Judy Greer (“27 Dresses”). But Plaza’s experience with viral web based comedy, and new found passion for stand up place her ahead of the pack. Plus she can do a mean Joy Behar impression, as evidenced on “Jimmy Fallon.” What’s not to love?