Half-boricua actress Aubrey Plaza is hot, hilarious and very much in demand—from her co-starring gig on Amy Poehler's new sitcom, Parks & Recreation, to dream movie roles with Seth Rogen and Michael Cera—but we still managed to land the 24-year-old comedian for a quick chat about tonight's premiere of P&R, plus why she likes playing bratty teens and what she really thinks of Sarah Silverman.
Tell us about your character on Parks & Recreation.
I play April; she's a nineteen-year-old college student who stumbles on this internship with the Parks & Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana. I'm kind of weird and a little bit mean, and I'm just there to get college credit. Leslie [Amy Poehler] is the second in command there, but she acts like the main boss—she even sets up her office to look like the Oval Office—and she hopes that I'll look up to her and someday be like her, whereas I just want to go on the Internet and hang out.
What's it like working with Amy Poehler every day?
I was an improv dork growing up and really into the Upright Citizen's Brigade, so Amy is kind of like my hero. Getting to work with her is a dream come true. If I knew that I'd be doing this one day when I was in high school, it would've blown my mind.
You tend to play a lot of bratty teenage girls. Any particular reason?
I think it's rare to find actors who are actually sixteen but can be as funny as someone who's done improv for a couple years. I can keep up with Seth Rogen and Tina Fey and all those guys, but I can look younger than I am. Also, I have a 17-year-old sister, Natalie, and I get a lot of material from her for my characters.
Just the way that she interacts with her friends and talks about what's cool and what's not cool, are people on Facebook or are they on MySpace...one time I heard her call someone 'schwasty,' and I was like, 'Natalie, what does that mean?' And she was like, 'You know, schwasty.' And I was like, 'No, I don't know.' But I'm gonna use it.
Were you nervous about doing a Judd Apatow movie [Funny People, out July 31]?
I was really scared the first day that I went to the table read because it was just me and the rest of them, and they were all famous and I was not. But they are all super grounded. After I met them and I hung out with them for a day, I forgot that they were all famous because they're just normal people, Seth [Rogen] and Jonah [Hill] especially. Hanging out with those guys was just like hanging out with all my comedian friends in New York.
What's it like growing up in Delaware?
Wilmington is pretty small. There wasn't a ton to do there, but it definitely made me more creative because I had to kind of find my own thing to do, which is why I started making weird, funny videos.
Did you identify as a Latina when you were a kid?
I was like the only diverse kid in my high school, and I'm half-Puerto Rican. But yeah, I have a huge family and tons of cousins in Puerto Rico. We actually hung out with them last summer, and it was awesome. But I wish my grandfather had taught my Dad Spanish when he was younger so he could've taught me when I was younger, and sometimes he does, too. It's a shame.
Have you gotten used to living in Los Angeles now?
I kinda thought I was gonna hate it because I was in New York for so long, and I love New York so much. I was anti-LA for no reason. But being out here, it's really not bad. It's a slower pace, but I still feel like I get more done here than in New York, where I was running around all the time like crazy.
Do you know if Sarah Silverman's ever seen your impression of her?
No. I would be interested to hear her reaction to it, but I haven't yet. It's funny because after I did that, I got a lot of backlash from people defending her. And I tried to make it clear that I'm not hating on her; I really like her, actually! I was just doing it for my SNL audition, and I hadn't seen anyone else try to do her.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
Hopefully "Parks & Recreation" will still be on the air...ideally, I would love to be doing that show and then doing movies that I've written and can hopefully star in. That's kinda my dream, is to write something and star in it or even just write something like Tina Fey does.