It’s Real Weird When ‘Parks and Rec’s Perd Hapley Shows Up in Serious Movies

Pawnee’s newsman is also part of the ‘Fast and Furious’ universe
It’s Real Weird When ‘Parks and Rec’s Perd Hapley Shows Up in Serious Movies

A big reason why Parks and Recreation is such a great show (in addition to its uncanny ability to predict the future) is its extensive cast of characters — not just Leslie, Ron, and the rest of the City Hall gang, but also Pawnee, Indiana’s deep bench of bizarro residents; from fragrance magnate Dennis Feinstein to porn star Brandi Maxxxx to April’s creepy friend Orin.

That said, one of the most memorable members of the town, we’d argue, is Perd Hapley, Channel 4’s extremely literal news anchor and occasional TV judge. 

Despite the fact that he’s basically a walking cartoon character, what makes Perd so incredibly funny is his authenticity — he truly looks and sounds like a genuine newsman, even when making overly simplistic statements. Well, the reason for this is that Perd Hapley was played by Jay Jackson, who was actually a real TV reporter for more than two decades.

Jackson, who is also a singer and novelist, started playing fictional reporters in TV shows, beginning with Dexter and scoring the Parks and Recreation gig shortly thereafter. After that, Jackson began showing up in movies — and for a Parks and Rec fan, it can be more than a tad disconcerting to be watching a dramatic story that in no way takes place in Pawnee, Indiana, and have Perd Hapley suddenly show up. Literally a minute into Fast Five, we see him reporting on the escape of Dominic Toretto.


“The suspect should be considered fast and furious.”

And we get a scene of him grilling an interview subject in the Tom Clancy thriller Without Remorse.


Jackson has also appeared in movies like Battleship and shows like Scandal and American Crime Story. Of course, this isn’t to say that Jackson is in any way unconvincing in these projects — if anything, it’s simply a testament to how indelible his comic performance in Parks and Rec was that, for many of us, he’ll always be Perd.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 

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