High Schooler Aubrey Plaza Cussed Out Joe Biden
Before April Ludgate ever had the opportunity to roll her eyes at the Pawnee powers that be, an even younger version of Aubrey Plaza was calling out government wonk Joe Biden on his bullshit. Even as a 16-year-old spitfire, Plaza was never afraid to stick it to the man.
Plaza and Biden, Delaware’s two favorite children, would eventually have another run-in on Parks and Recreation. But the two denizens of the Blue Hen State had their first scuffle at a youth leadership conference while Plaza was still in high school, she recently told The New Yorker. Although she admits to a terrible memory (meaning this whole story could be a lie), the conference was a competitive event, with only one student representative picked from each Delaware high school for “an entire day’s worth of Joe Biden-themed events.”
What that looked like in actuality was a day of students being shuttled from conference room to conference room, with different speakers pontificating on some subject of civic importance. (It’s not hard to imagine Lesley Knope signing up for that kind of gig.) The day’s climax was an auditorium presentation by Joe Biden himself. An actual senator -- what an honor for the students! Well, for most of the students.
“I was very Tracy-Flick-in-Election-style aggressive as a student,” confesses Plaza, who initiated an angry stare-down with Biden from the audience before his speech even began. When he asked the students about how the day had gone, “I raised my hand immediately, and I was, like, ‘It’s bullshit. This conference sucks. You didn’t let us talk. This was supposed to be about the students.’ I was always trying to rabble-rouse at that point. And he did not like it. I remember his face got really red.”
But the Delawareans were back on good terms by the time Biden made his cameo on Parks and Rec. In fact, by that point, the two had met a few times. But that doesn’t mean she was done giving him grief, especially since Biden shared the same story whenever they met. “His first wife went to the same high school that I went to,” says Plaza. “So he always tells me about how he used to wait outside the convent for her because it’s an all-girls Catholic school—and it’s a very sweet story, but I’ve heard it a lot.”
“I was, like, ‘I know, Joe! She went to Ursuline!’”
Because Parks and Rec filmed Biden’s cameo at the White House, Plaza got a glimpse at the Vice President’s desk where she saw a memo with her name underlined along with a few key facts. That confirmed it for an angry (again) Plaza -- Biden didn’t remember her after all, all-girls school be damned. “That’s how politicians are, you know? I pocketed it, and Mike Schur, the creator of Parks and Rec, was horrified,” she says. “He was, like, ‘You cannot steal from the White House!’ And I was, like, ‘I don’t give a shit! I know what he did! He didn’t know me!’ And it’s sad because I lost it. Can you imagine if I’d kept it? I could’ve framed it or sold it. Now he’s the President—I had no idea. But, yeah, I stole it right off his desk.”
They don’t call her Emily the Criminal for nothing.