Jake Johnson

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Jake Johnson
Jake Johnson cropped 2012.jpg
Jake M. Johnson at Paleyfest in 2012
Born Mark Jake Weinberger
(1978-05-28) May 28, 1978 (age 36)
Evanston, Illinois, United States
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 2006–present

Jake Mark Johnson (born Mark Jake Weinberger; May 28, 1978)[1] is an American actor and comedian, most known for playing Nick Miller in the Fox comedy series New Girl opposite Zooey Deschanel, for which he has received a Teen Choice Award nomination among others. Johnson also co-starred in the 2009 film Paper Heart and the 2012 film Safety Not Guaranteed, as well as appearing in Get Him to the Greek and 21 Jump Street. His first starring role in a feature film was Drinking Buddies, and he also starred in the 2014 comedy Let's Be Cops, alongside fellow New Girl star Damon Wayans, Jr..


Johnson was born in Evanston, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.[2][3] He was named after his maternal uncle, Mark Johnson, who died at the age of 26 in a motorcycle accident in 1977, a year before Jake was born. Jake's father, Ken Weinberger, owned a car dealership, and is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family. Jake's mother's ancestry is English, Irish, and Polish Catholic.[4] His parents divorced when he was two, and being the youngest, he and his brother, Dan, and sister, Rachel, were raised by his single mother, Eve Johnson, an artist who made stained glass windows. Johnson then took his mother's last name during high school.[5] Johnson has stated that since his 20s, his father has resurfaced and now they are close.[6]

He grew up a fan of the Second City improv troupe, which showed off the talents of actors such as John Belushi, Tina Fey and Chris Farley. He graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka and started his post-secondary education at the University of Iowa. While in Iowa City, he wrote a play, which wound up earning him admission to the Dramatic Writing Department at NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, followed by the 2002 John Golden Playwriting Prize and the Sloan Fellowship for Screenwriting. The New York off-Broadway group, The Ensemble Studio Theater, produced his play Cousins.

While in New York, Johnson started the sketch comedy troupe The Midwesterners, modeling their material and style after HBO's sketch comedy Mr. Show with Bob and David. After moving to Los Angeles, Johnson supported himself as a waiter and a production assistant, also scoring a series of bit feature and guest TV roles. In 2007, he landed a more regular gig with the TBS mini-show Derek and Simon: The Show, produced by Bob Odenkirk.[citation needed]

In 2009, he appeared in the mockumentary Paper Heart. In 2010, Johnson was cast in a small role in the Russell Brand comedy, Get Him to the Greek. He played Uma Thurman's character's brother in the romantic comedy Ceremony, and as a buddy of Ashton Kutcher's character in No Strings Attached. In 2011, he played Jesus in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. In 2012, he appeared in the film version of 21 Jump Street, which starred Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Johnson made an appearance at the 2012 Sundance Festival as one of the leads in Safety Not Guaranteed.[7]

Since 2011, Johnson has been starring as Nick Miller alongside Zooey Deschanel on New Girl. In 2013, he appeared in the music video for "Rouse Yourself", a song by indie-soul band JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound alongside his Safety Not Guaranteed co-star Aubrey Plaza.[citation needed] He is also starring (as a fictional version of himself) in a series of Dodge Dart commercials with Craig Robinson.

Drunk History[edit]

The web series Drunk History, which led to the 2013 TV series Drunk History, was inspired by a 2007 conversation that Johnson had with series creator Derek Waters. Johnson, while drunk, was trying to describe the story of Otis Redding's death to Waters, and Waters was inspired to build a series around history narrated by drunk people. Johnson later appeared in the first episode of the web series (as Aaron Burr), as well as episode 8 of the TV series' first season (as William B. Travis).[8]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson lives in Los Angeles, and is also a member of both the Sunday Men's Basketball League and the Interstate 5 Tennis Association.[9]


Year Title Role
2008 Redbelt Guayabera Shirt Man
2009 Paper Heart Nicholas Jasenovec
2010 Ceremony Teddy
2010 Get Him to the Greek Jazz Man
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Jesus Christ
2011 No Strings Attached Eli
2012 21 Jump Street Principal Dadier
2012 Safety Not Guaranteed Jeff Schwensen
2013 Drinking Buddies Luke
2013 The Pretty One Basel
2013 Coffee Town Will's Roommate
2014 The Lego Movie Barry
2014 Neighbors Sebastian Cremmington
2014 Let's Be Cops Ryan O'Malley
2015 Digging for Fire
2015 Jurassic World Lowery


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Derek and Simon: The Show Jake 6 Episodes
2007 Curb Your Enthusiasm Man on Cell Phone Episode 6.7: "The N Word"
2007 The Unit Martin Episode 3.6: "MPs"
2009 Lie to Me Howard Crease Episode 1.4: "Love Always"
2010 FlashForward Powell Episode 1.21: "Countdown"
2011–present New Girl Nick Miller Main role
2011 Allen Gregory Joel Zadak 6 Episodes
2012 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Jorgen Episode 2.2: "The Real Bicycle Thief"
2013 High School USA! Mr. Structor Main cast

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Title Result
2012 Gotham Independent Film Award Best Ensemble Performance Safety Not Guaranteed Nominated
2013 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series New Girl Nominated
TCA Award Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Television Best Actor Comedy Nominated
2014 Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Pending


  1. ^ "Obtaining Birthdays in One Step". Stevemorse.org. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ Lash, Jolie (November 15, 2011). "Rising Star: ‘New Girl's’ Jake M. Johnson". Access Hollywood. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ "New Girl: 10 Things About Jake". FOX. October 31, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Jake M. Johnson personer". Film . nu. May 22, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rising Star: 'New Girl's' Jake M. Johnson". Access Hollywood. November 15, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Jake Johnson on His SXSW Comedy ‘Drinking Buddies,’ ‘New Girl’ Success". The Daily Beast. March 9, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ ""Drunk History" Creator Derek Waters & Director Jeremy Konner Interview". Complex. July 8, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Jake M. Johnson biography". IMDb.com. September 21, 2011. 

External links[edit]