Actress Spotlight: Aubrey Plaza


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Ever since the turn of the century, deadpan has been the most popular comedic device in critically acclaimed movies and television shows. (Deadpan is a comedic strategy in which an actor delivers a joke in the most emotionless way. Also known as dry humor or dry wit.) There is one half-Latina actress that is perfecting the art of deadpan, mostly known for her work as the bad-mannered intern April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, Aubrey Plaza. She has become one of the internet’s most loved comedians.

This comedian was born on June 26, 1984, in the state of Delaware. Her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is of Irish-English descent. She can speak Spanish and has family living in Puerto Rico. Coming from Delaware/Catholic roots, she has described her experience as the only ethnically diverse student in her class. She even won the “Hispanic Teenager of the Year” award.

After high school, Aubrey Plaza attended the Tisch School of Arts in New York and majored in film and television production. While in college, she took improvisational classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which was ironically founded by her future co-star Amy Poehler. After graduating, Aubrey did a lot internships, including the prestigious NBC page internship. (Later reprising the role for a small cameo in 30 Rock.)

She got her big break by posting funny videos of herself with her friends on the internet. Eventually she was discovered by the director of Freaks and Geeks and Anchorman, Judd Apatow. He cast Aubrey as an up-and-coming stand up comedian in the 2009 dramedy Funny People. From there followed subsequent roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Parks and Recreation.


Aubrey Plaza’s part on Parks and Recreation was specially crafted to fit her “weirdness”. In six years and seven seasons, April Ludgate’s role as an uninterested intern dramatically blossomed into one of an ambitious young woman with her witty one-liners, intense observations, and the help of the Parks and Recreation Department from Pawnee, Indiana. Within the early seasons of the show, Aubrey Plaza, got to show off her Spanish-speaking skills. In the “Sister City” episode of Season two, April Ludgate’s explained her reason for knowing Spanish and “being so lively and colorful” was because she is Puerto Rican on her mother’s side. Aubrey Plaza’s role on Parks and Recreation has increased the amount of Latina representation in comedy as it is seen on the FOX show, Brooklyn Nine Nine.

In between seasons of her Parks and Rec, Aubrey Plaza has acted in a couple independent movies. Her most critically acclaimed role being that of the disillusioned intern, Darius Britt, in Safety Not Guaranteed. Other independent movies that she has starred in include Life After Beth, About Alex, and The To Do List.

Aubrey Plaza is loved by the internet. Her attitude and roles have let others to identify with her personality. She has also been known to gracefully embrace her status as “internet royalty” by bringing to life some of the internet’s favorites. For example, she collaborated with College Humor to create a fake live action trailer follow-up to the 1990s animated television show Daria in “Daria: The Movie”. In addition, Plaza was chosen to voice the internet meme’s Grumpy Cat in the 2014 Lifetime movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas”.

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