Aubrey Plaza's Big Year: From Spin Me Round to SNL and Everything in Between

The past year has been a big one for Aubrey Plaza – and she’s getting ready to cap it off with a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
The actress and comedian got her start performing sketch and improv comedy with Upright Citizens Brigade before landing small roles in films such as Funny People and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But when she joined the cast of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation in 2009, her career really began to take off, and a steady stream of film and TV roles followed.
More than a decade later, Plaza is having a moment. When she graces the stage at Studio 8H on Saturday, it will be the cherry on top an incredible last 12 months, which included roles in AMC+’s Spin Me Round and Emily the Criminal as well as her Golden Globe-nominated turn on the second season of HBO’s The White Lotus.  
Before her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live, take a look back at some of her most memorable roles to date, including her hot streak in 2022. And you can dive a little deeper by streaming Spin Me Round right now on AMC+.
Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Plaza’s deadpan style and cutting stare as April Ludgate on Parks & Recreation birthed an army of fans that just couldn’t get enough of her acerbic wit. April, an intern who becomes the assistant of Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), is arguably one of the most memorable characters from the epic ensemble show, and Plaza’s performance piqued interest in the actress almost immediately. 
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
Her first starring film role came in Safety Not Guaranteed when she played Darius Britt, a magazine intern who, along with two colleagues, sets out to interview a man who placed a classified ad in search of a time-travel companion. Writer Derek Connolly, whose script won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, wrote the character of Darius with Plaza in mind after seeing her performance in Funny People. And yet again, her work was critically acclaimed, with her performance even earning her wins at that year’s ALMA Awards and Young Hollywood Awards.
Legion (2017-2019)
Legion marked Plaza’s return to television as a series regular when she played Lenore "Lenny" Busker and Amahl Farouk/Shadow King in FX’s quasi-superhero drama set in an alternate X-Men universe. This was another instance where a character was tweaked to align with Plaza’s particular skills. Creator Noah Hawley had originally written Busker as a middle-aged man, but when he met Plaza he totally rethought the character. When creators are re-writing characters for you, you know you’ve got something special to offer.
Black Bear (2020)
Plaza added another skill to her resume in 2020 when she produced and starred in the independent film Black Bear. She played Allison, a filmmaker who seeks to solve her creative struggles at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons. Critics called the film, which also debuted at Sundance, a “mind-bending experience,” and it teed up Plaza fans for darker, more serious fare from the actress.
Emily the Criminal (2022)
Case in point, 2022 kicked off with Plaza returning to Sundance in Emily the Criminal, a crime thriller that delves into the harsh realities of modern life. Starring as Emily Benetto, a woman deeply in debt who gets entangled in a credit card scam that pulls her into the Los Angeles criminal underworld, Plaza’s turn as a desperate woman had the Internet immediately buzzing upon its release. Her work in the film was nominated for multiple awards, including the Gotham Awards and the upcoming Independent Spirit awards. (Fun fact: Plaza hosted the Spirit awards in both 2019 and 2020).
Spin Me Round (2022)
Plaza kept on rolling in 2022 with a role in this dark comedy starring and co-written by Alison Brie. Brie’s character Amber works at a restaurant chain and wins a free trip to Italy to visit the company’s “institute” and spend time with its founder. Plaza plays Kat, who at first seems to be the founder’s assistant, but things are definitely not as they appear. Spin Me Round is available to stream on AMC+ right now.
Watch the trailer:

The White Lotus (2022)
All of this led to Season 2 of The White Lotus, arguably the buzziest role of Plaza’s career thus far. Plaza plays straightlaced lawyer Harper, whose vacation to Sicily with her husband Ethan is complicated by romantic tension and competition with Ethan’s college friend Cameron (Theo James) who is also vacationing with his wife Daphne (Meghann Fahy). The role earned Plaza her first Golden Globe nomination and proved there’s really no way to predict what might be next for the talented actress.