Like many who have achieved success, Jake Johnson has wandered off-course many times in the midst of his ascent. But here's the thing: Even as he made mistakes, he was savvy enough to glean life lessons from them.
How not to work a day job:
I was once fired while I was catering a bar mitzvah because of the two DJs — one black guy, one Jewish guy. I really needed the job. I had just moved to L.A. and that $85 is very real.
These two clowns were doing this whole hip-hop routine together: "Yo, Jeremy, it's your day, son." And this little kid would be like, "Yeeeeeah." And I just started laughing.
My boss was like, "Stop laughing right now." And I'm like, "I'm not trying to laugh. I understand it's wrong." And then I'd go back out there, and the DJ would be like, "Huh huh huh. You gon' dance with Sara? Is she your No. 1 gal?" And the girl would be like, "Yup, yup." And I was just dead.
That was the first time I ever got fired during a job. My boss was literally like, "Give me your bow tie."
How not to become a playwright:
The playwright John Patrick Shanley really inspired my writing. And I would say even more than inspired — I just copied him. I would read "Moonstruck" or "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" and I would write a play like "Tommy and the Big Lake," you know. "Sunstroke." I think he's a true master.
How not to meet your heroes:
This last weekend, ("New Girl" co-stars) Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris and I hosted the Do Something Awards on VH1, a charity award show. Max and I are really good buddies; we spend a lot of time together, and we do really stupid bits together. One of the bits that we've been into lately is talking like a mix of Yugoslavian-slash-Swedish — just weirdness. We get really close to each other's ears and say, "Hey, man, let's make sexy-time." It's really bad, but we do it at work. It keeps us in the mood to keep going.
And we were right next to each other, and I was going, "Hey, man, let's make sexy-time all night with beautiful gals." And he goes, "Ya, man." And we turned around and Bryan Cranston was literally right there.
I was like, "Oh, hey man, I'm a big fan of 'Breaking Bad.'" And he goes, "OK." And I go, "Honestly, how much of that did you see?" And he goes, "Not much. Ya, man. Sexy-time!"