The 'Parks and Recreation' star is the b-e-e-e-sttt
Ben Schwartz’s popular character, Jean-Ralphio Saperstein from the hit NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” may walk around singing, “the wooorst” in a falsetto voice directly into people’s ears, but in reality— the Jewish actor and comedian is the best. Schwartz, 35, born and raised in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, was once asked in an interview with actor and comedian Kevin Pollak if he had any bullet wounds from growing up in the Borough of Trees and he said, “No, it’s just me, and like, Jewish people.” Schwartz, who is starring in the upcoming Netflix original film, “Happy Anniversary,” may spit rhyming poetry to get girls on “Parks and Rec,” — but he had us at his majestic Jew-fro.
Seven reasons we have a Jew crush on Ben Schwartz:
1. Sketch star. Before being cast in other people’s shows, Schwartz created his own (he still does). Writing, directing and acting in short films, he had his own segment on HBO’s “Funny or Die Presents” called “Terrible Decisions with Ben Schwartz” and has appeared in several “CollegeHumor” sketches, including the popular web series “Jake and Amir.”
2. UCBabe. Getting one of his starts from the legendary Upright Citizen’s Brigrade Theatre, Schwartz graduated from the prestigious improvisation school joining the ranks of Amy Poehler, Rob Riggle, Kate McKinnon, Donald Glover and many other successful comedians. Part of the group “Hot Sauce,” Schwartz performs his long-form improv show at the LA theater on the regular.
3. Parks and Rec/House of Lies. If it wasn’t clear, we have a dangerous obsession with Schwartz’s “Park and Recreation” absurd character Jean-Ralphio: from the eccentrically loud ensembles to the rhyming poetry (that he can never seem to end on a rhyme), to his bizarre relationship with his equally ludicrous sister Mona Lisa (Jenny Slate), there’s really not such a thing as too much Jean-Ralphio. Schwartz also landed a starring role in the Showtime comedy “House of Lies,” in which he played a bumptious management consultant. He may wear a grey, conservative suit on the show but his personality is anything but muted.
4. Songster. Comedy may be the common thread among Schwartz’s creative achievements, but he’s definitely not a one-note talent. In 2009, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for helping to pen the song Hugh Jackman sang at the 81st Academy Awards as the opening number.
5. Behind the scenes. Many comedy writers aren’t recognized until they make it onto the screen. Before Schwartz was landing roles in successful series he was writing jokes for little known shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
6. Prank perfection. When science fiction-horror web television series “Stranger Things” introduced Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) lots of “Parks and Rec” fans had to do a double-take: many were convinced the dopplegangers were the same person or at least related. Never one to disappoint, Schwartz created a video postulating that the “Stranger Things” star, 24 (11 years younger than Schwartz), is actually Jean-Ralphio’s father. Through a series of videos and Instagram posts with Keery, Schwartz goes on to “prove” the theory.
7. Puppy person. Throughout Schwartz’s Instagram you can find him playing with a number of pups and entering into a realm of unparalleled euphoria. And let’s be honest, loving dogs is the sign of an excellent human.
Parks and Recreation