Aubrey Plaza Explains What Went Wrong During Saturday Night Live Audition

Aubrey Plaza breaks down why her Saturday Night Live audition went wrong during an interview with Jimmy Fallon.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

aubrey plaza

Aubrey Plaza has graced the world with her dark humor since her 2009 breakout on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Since then, the actress has expanded her filmography with hit movies and shows, but as reported by Deadline, Plaza’s early career could have taken a very different path. Ahead of her first time hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend, Plaza opened up on The Tonight Show about her failed audition for SNL and even detailed her rejected material.

Aubrey Plaza recalled that she did not make it to the infamous final audition for SNL executive Lorne Michaels, but in a preliminary audition, she brought some interesting characters to the table. “[O]ne character I did was like a Puerto Rican news reporter that was always trying to make all of the news stories sexy, even if they were horrific news stories,” she told SNL alum Jimmy Fallon. “I was just trying to like, sex up the news or something.”

Another one of Aubrey Plaza’s characters was even stranger. “I was, like, a pill-popping, like, housewife that had my own talk show called Celebri-Tails, where I would just name celebrities and name what kind of tail they would have if they had a tail. Like I would say, ‘Lindsay Lohan would have a bushy squirrel’s tail.’ Or, like, ‘Bill Clinton would have a polar bear’s nub.’”

While Plaza’s bizarre audition characters didn’t make the cut for the popular sketch show, the actress had Jimmy Fallon and the audience of The Tonight Show giggling in their seats. Aubrey Plaza was also a design department intern on Saturday Night Live in 2004 and 2005, where she said she soaked up everything she possibly could.

Now, nearly 20 years later, Aubrey Plaza’s SNL journey comes full circle as she prepares to return to the legendary sketch show as its host. “…My master plan worked!” Plaza exclaimed.

Aubrey Plaza’s career fared just fine without a coveted spot in the SNL lineup. In addition to the wildly popular Parks and Recreation, Plaza found her way into the cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs The World, offbeat indies like Life After Beth and Ingrid Goes West, and even dabbled in horror for the return of the killer Chucky Doll in a reboot of Child’s Play (2019).

Aubrey Plaza from Emily the Criminal

Now at the start of 2023, Aubrey Plaza is coming off of a big year. 2022 began with the Sundance Film Festival debut of Emily the Criminal, a thriller led by Plaza that earned the star nominations for her performance at the Independent Spirit Awards and Gotham Awards, and rocked the Netflix charts when it dropped on the streamer in December. Things really heated up for Plaza with the second season of HBO Max’s The White Lotus.

The satirical comedy-drama series has been one of HBO Max’s most popular and well-reviewed series. The White Lotus won big at the Golden Globes, taking home the award for Best Limited or Anthology Series, and Aubrey Plaza was nominated for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Minseries, or TV Film at the prestigious ceremony.

The White Lotus put the spotlight on Aubrey Plaza in a big way, and the actress is gearing up for even more high profile outings. She will appear in Francis Ford Coppola’s flailing sci-fi epic Megalopolis, as well as the upcoming Marvel series Agatha: Coven of Chaos in an undisclosed role.

Fans have been in love with Aubrey Plaza since April Ludgate charmed audiences with her moody sarcasm on Parks and Recreation, and the love for Plaza just keeps coming. Jimmy Fallon and the audience of The Tonight Show erupted with praise for Plaza at the mention of The White Lotus, and her upcoming projects are hotly anticipated. SNL may not have connected with Plaza’s offbeat humor, but she has found her fanbase and forged a path that has led her to stardom as she continues to deliver a swagger that is all her own.