Thursday, April 30, 2009
Even if you haven't been to a comedy club in a while, you may have spotted Aubrey Plaza dressed as an NBC page, giving a studio tour in prime time on the sitcom "30 Rock."
It's an experience she knows well. The 23-year-old comedian once worked as an NBC page.
"When they were casting that episode they were looking for someone who could improvise what a page would say. Ideally, they wanted a former page who was also an actress and that was me," she says. "I even had my own page uniform I brought to the set."
Plaza moved from her native Delaware to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She was in the perfect place to get behind the scenes at her dream gigs, interning at "Saturday Night Live" and working various other jobs at NBC.
"I think ultimately I want to be in a position where I can write my own movie and star in it," she says. "Or have my own TV show and be head writer - Tina Fey style."
When interviewed on the phone, she was in Los Angeles for a series of auditions. In New York, she performs with Upright Citizens Brigade, on the same long-form improv team as Jenn Bartels, and has carved out a niche in Long Island City, where some 20 of her high-school friends ended up, leading her to christen the area "Little Delaware."
Like many young comics, her biggest break yet came from the Internet. She exchanges verbal jabs with comic Liz Cackowski in the online series "The Jeannie Tate Show." Cackowski plays a suburban mom who hosts a talk show from behind the wheel of her minivan; Plaza plays her badass, substance-loving daughter. The series of videos, most under five minutes, have tallied more than half a million views on YouTube.
"After 'Jeannie Tate' I'm constantly being cast as a mean, bad teenager," says Plaza, who insists she was sweet growing up. "I just think I have a really angry looking face. I don't smile that much, so people automatically assume I have dark secrets."
A couple interesting things here. First, it mentions her role on 30 Rock, and how she landed the gig. She wore her NBC page uniform (from working at SNL) and acted natural.
Half a million views isn't all that much. I think it's just more about who is watching them. For example, Maggie is married to Bill Hader, so a lot of the right people were watching those videos.
For example, we have over 1.5 million views from our vids: