Aubrey Christina Plaza (born June 26, 1984 in Wilmington, Delaware) is an American actor and comedian.
Plaza is well-recognized for the trademark Deadpan Snarker and Emotionless Girl personae she brings to many of her projects, both of which were displayed in her Star-Making Role, April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation. Cast while she was interning at a Post-It Note factory, the part was written specifically for her, after casting director Allison Jones' suggestion to showrunner Michael Schur (quoted above).
On the back of her Parks and Rec popularity, Plaza landed roles in films such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Funny People, and Safety Not Guaranteed, and even provided the voice of the well-known feline celebrity and internet meme "Grumpy Cat", in Lifetime's film Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.
Though mostly associated with comedic projects, Plaza has also appeared in more dramatic works, notably playing against type as Lenny Busker in FX's Legion (2017), based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.
Plaza came out as bisexual in 2016. She married her longtime partner, director and screenwriter Jeff Baena, in 2021.
Works she's appeared in with TV Tropes pages:
- 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 Johnson
- Best Sellers (2021) as Lucy Stanbridge
- Emily the Criminal (2022) as Emily
- Operation Fortune Ruse De Guerre (2022)
- Spin Me Round (2022)
- Parks and Recreation (200915) as April Ludgate (125 episodes)
- Portlandia (201112) 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 (201920) as Bernadette (2 episodes)
- Muppets Now (2020) as herself (episode: "Sleep Mode")
- Calls (2021) as Dr. Rachel Wheating (2 episodes)
- Duncanville (2021) as Nina (episode: "Das Banana Boot")
- The White Lotus (2022) as Harper Spiller (6 episodes)
- Little Demon (2022present) as Lauranote
- Agatha: Coven of Chaos (2023) as TBA
Her career provides examples of the following tropes:
- Cloudcuckoolander: Was this in her first major role.
- Cuckoosnarker: Is this in many of her live and talk-show appearances, making a bevy of oddball, snarky remarks.
- Creator Couple: With her now-husband, director Jeff Baena. They've worked together on Life After Beth, Joshy, The Little Hours, and Spin Me Round.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: When asked to masturbate for a scene in The To Do List, Plaza actually pleasured herself on set, something she later admitted 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 (2017) gives Lenny a nude scene when she comes back to life and, in a later episode, a pretty raunchy girl/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.
- Queer Character, Queer Actor: She's bisexual, and has played LGBT+ characters in Addicted To Fresno, The Little Hours, Legion (2017), Criminal Minds, Happiest Season, and Spin Me Round.
- Star-Making Role: Her role as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation made her known to the general public.
- The Stoic: She was cast as April to run counter to the Spicy Latina.
- Those Two Actors: She has costarred with Zac Efron in Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, both released in 2016, and with Alison Brie in Joshy (2016), The Little Hours (2017), Happiest Season (2020), and Spin Me Round (2022).
- 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.