Aubrey Christina Plaza (born June 26, 1984) is an American actor and comedian.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Plaza has gained popularity for her persona as a Deadpan Snarker and Emotionless Girl in many of her projects, both of which are qualities she displayed in her breakout role as April Ludgate on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Cast while she was interning at a Post-It Note factory, the part was written specifically for her, upon casting director Allison Jones' suggestion to showrunner Michael Schur.
On the back of her popularity from Parks and Rec, Plaza landed roles in films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Funny People, and Safety Not Guaranteed. She even provided the voice of popular internet meme Grumpy Cat in Lifetime's Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.
Though mostly associated with comedic projects, she's appeared in more dramatic works; Plaza notably plays against type as Lenny Busker in FX's Legion, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.
- Mystery Team (2009) as Kelly
- Funny People (2009) as Daisy Danby
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) as Julie Powers
- Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) as Darius Britt
- From Up on Poppy Hill (2013) as Sachiko Hirokouji note
- Monsters University (2013) as Claire Wheeler
- The To Do List (2013) as Brandy Klark
- Life After Beth (2014) as Beth Slocum
- Playing It Cool (2014) as Mallory
- Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014) as Grumpy Cat (voice)
- About Alex (2014) as Sarah
- Dirty Grandpa (2016) as Lenore
- Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016) as Tatiana
- The Little Hours (2017) as Fernanda
- Ingrid Goes West (2017) as Ingrid Thorburn
- An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn (2018) as Lulu Danger
- Child's Play (2019) as Karen Barclay
- Black Bear (2020) as Allison
- Happiest Season (2020) as Riley
- Parks and Recreation (200915) as April Ludgate (125 episodes)
- Portlandia as Beth / Bookstore Customer (3 episodes)
- The Legend of Korra (201314) as Eska (12 episodes)
- Drunk History (2013, 2016, 2019) as Sacagawea / Aaron Burr / Cleopatra (3 episodes)
- Maron (2013) as herself (episode: "Jen Moves to L.A.")
- Welcome to Sweden (201415) as Aubrey Plaza (6 episodes)
- Golan the Insatiable (2015) as Dylan Beekler (6 episodes)
- Castle (201516) as Lucy (4 episodes)
- SpongeBob SquarePants (2016) as Nocturna (episode: "Mall Girl Pearl")
- RuPaul's Drag Race (2016) as herself (episode: "Family That Drags Together")
- Criminal Minds (201620) as Catherine "Cat" Adams (4 episodes)
- Legion (201719) as Lenore "Lenny" Busker (27 episodes)
- Crank Yankers (2019-20) as Bernadette (2 episodes)
- Muppets Now (2020) as herself (episode: "Sleep Mode")
- Duncanville (2021) as Nina (episode: "Das Banana Boot")
Her career provides examples of the following tropes:
- Cloudcuckoolander: Was this in her first major role, and apparently her default personality. Check out the interviews she's done on YouTube. The woman is bizarre, inappropriate, and absolutely hilarious.
- Creator Couple: With her now-husband, director Jeff Baena. They've worked together on Life After Beth, Joshy, and The Little Hours.
- A Date with Rosie Palms : When asked to masturbate for a scene in The To Do List, she actually pleasured herself onset. Aubrey said that it was very awkward.
- Dawson Casting:
- Parks and Recreation: April Ludgate was 19 in the first season, while Aubrey began playing her at around 25. Possibly referenced in one episode when a bouncer refuses to let April into a bar because she is only 20 and April claims to be 24. There is a three-year Time Skip between Seasons 6 and 7 that brings the character closer to Plaza's actual age.
- The To Do List: 29 playing an 18-year-old high school graduate. Then again, so was most of the rest of the cast.
- Dirty Grandpa: 31 playing a 21-year-old college student.
- Ms. Fanservice:
- While it isn't THAT egregious, she does have some steamy scenes in The To Do List.
- Season 2 of Legion gives Lenny a nude scene when she comes back to life and, in a later episode, a pretty raunchy giri/girl scene.
- No nudity but her role in Dirty Grandpa is very sexual and with a lot of revealing outfits.
- In The Little Hours she plays a lustful nun who briefly appears topless.
- Playing Against Type:
- In About Alex, as an insecure Team Mom with a boatload of neuroses.
- In both Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, she plays a wild party girl.
- Also check her out as a heartless contract killer in Criminal Minds. It's so different from her usual character it's actually terrifying.
- In Legion, she starts off as the main character's comic relief best friend, but turns out to be the Big Bad of the first season.
- Queer Character, Queer Actor: She's bisexual, and has played LGBT+ characters in The Little Hours, Legion, Criminal Minds, and Happiest Season.
- Star-Making Role: Her role as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation made her known to the general public.
- The Stoic: Her signature character type (and why she was cast as April: to run counter to the Spicy Latina).
- Those Two Actors: Costarred with Zac Efron in Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, both released in 2016.
- What Could Have Been:
- Originally auditioned to be a Saturday Night Live cast member for the 2008‒09 season (around the time that her Parks castmate-to-be Amy Poehler was due to leave and Lorne Michaels hired two new female cast members [Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins] instead of John Roberts, T.J. Miller, Nick Kroll, and Plaza herself). (Had she been chosen, she would have been the first Hispanic female SNL cast member.note )
- In 2009 comedy website CollegeHumor made a fake trailer for a live-action Daria movie with Plaza as the title character. Sadly, nothing came of it.