‘New Girl’ Guest Star Claims Zooey Deschanel Was ‘Slightly Annoyed’ With Him: ‘It Was Disrespectful, What I Was Doing’
One of New Girl’s guest stars admitted that he got a little carried away with improvising, to the point that he had to start “censoring” himself because he thought it was making Zooey Deschanel “slightly annoyed.” Justin Long had such a good time on the show that he found it hard not to make everyone laugh, but he said what he was doing was “disrespectful.”
Justin Long and Jake Johnson talked about ‘New Girl’
Long played Paul Genzlinger on New Girl, a teacher at Jess’ (Deschanel) school who she dated during season 1.
During the August 25 episode of the Life Is Short With Justin Long podcast, Long chatted about his time on New Girl with one of the stars, Jake Johnson, who played Nick Miller. Long, it turns out, notoriously improvised a lot of material that made the show’s stars crack up, requiring multiple takes.
“When you did New Girl, your performance was, to this day, was one of the funniest things I have ever seen on a set,” Johnson said.
Johnson explained how Long had “the performance that the world saw on TV” and “on set, which was A+, homeruns, fireworks, one of the greatest comedic performances, I gotta tell you, I’ve ever seen.”
The only problem? It was all “wildly unusable,” according to Johnson.
Justin Long just wanted to ‘play’ on ‘New Girl’
Johnson pointed to one scene where Long was “doing tons of improv” and he “couldn’t stop laughing.”
Long found it almost impossible not to goof around on the show because he said, “the second I was on set with you guys, I saw what you were doing… ‘I wanna play with these guys.'” During one kind of “nothing scene”, he purposely said one character’s name wrong, which left the other stars cracking up.
Johnson explained, “I think we were scream laughing” over Long’s improv and Long said that it was that reaction that encouraged him to keep doing it.
“There were so many hard laughs on that show,” Johnson added.
Justin Long annoyed Zooey Deschanel
Later in the podcast, Long revisited his time on New Girl in a discussion with his co-host and brother Christian, who asked “…how you would do all these takes, knowing full well that they were unusable, did you ever think ‘maybe I’m annoying the higher-ups at Fox or the producers?’”
“I should have,” the actor said. “I hate saying this because it sounds selfish and arrogant, but when Jake was describing that, I was having… it was bringing back all of these memories of doing that and I don’t remember thinking, ‘ooh, maybe I’m pissing people [off].’”
Long continued, “I started censoring myself, I started being more responsible when Zooey showed signs of being slightly annoyed. Because she is also my scene partner. The last thing I want to do is alienate my scene partner and be disrespectful. It was disrespectful, what I was doing, ultimately.”
“I was having fun. Jake and Lamorne [Morris]… I think those guys were having fun,” he added, “But in terms of pissing off the producers and the studio… I knew that there was so much money in that show. It was such a big budget thing.” Long shared, “I was blinded too by how much fun it was, how much fun we were having. I just loved playing with those guys.”