Second City Network

Behind the Scenes with Aubrey Plaza & Jake Johnson


JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound’s brand-spanking-new video for “Rouse Yourself” stars two of television’s most beloved weirdoes: Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza and New Girl’s Jake Johnson.

Second City director (and JCBUS guitarist) Billy Bungeroth directed the action-packed adventure, wherein a couple’s lovers’ spat nearly results in soul singer JC Brooks’ demise at the hands of martial arts expert Nicky Excitement. Check out the video, and then read The Second City Network’s exclusive with Billy on how things went down on the set.

SCN: How did the idea for the video come together?

BB: One of the main reasons is that Jake and I are both huge fans of  [budding martial arts star from Singapore] Nicky Excitement . He’s an American street-fighter who’s been making really hard-to-find videos and doing tactical demonstrations in the Far East. We both became obsessed with him after we saw one of his demonstrations while on holiday Saigon last Christmas. He typically stays away from the internet entirely – which is a rarity these days. I guess we’ve been hatching a plan to collaborate with him ever since.

SCN: How do you know Jake Johnson? 

BB: Jake and I met when we were 14 and have lived in no less than three cities together, did sketch shows with our buddy Oliver, and produced an unreleased film. We were interns at SNL and then both left New York – I started at the Second City and playing music in Chicago with JC Brooks, and Jake headed to LA.

SCN: And how did Aubrey Plaza get roped in?

BB: Jake asked Aubrey, and they’ve been friends since making Safety Not Guaranteed together. I think she may one of the funniest people in Hollywood. Unbelievable improviser. Not sure why but she travels with a complete Wizard Of Oz Dorothy costume in her car.

SCN: Is directing a video different than directing at Second City? What was the set like?

BB: I think they’re similar for me, as I try to use the actors’ ideas on set when it’s possible. And the actors at Second City are entirely responsible for their own ideas. But it’s more of a three-ring circus on a video set because your time is crunched – things were crazy because we had to get it all filmed in a day due to everyone’s schedules.

It was shot between Jake and Aubrey’s tv season shoots and their summer movie projects, as well juggling our JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound summer tour and Nicky Excitement’s trip to L.A. [to teach a guided meditation and weaponry seminar]. But we did it, and it was one of the funniest sets I’ve ever been on, ’cause everyone was psyched to be together. I’ve learned that the process is not always as enjoyable as the product, but in this case, it was.


JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound’s new album Howl is out now.  Aubrey Plaza’s new flick The To Do List hits theaters July 26th.  Watch for Jake Johnson in Season 3 of Fox’s New Girl this fall.