Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Parks And Rec: What The Cast Is Doing Now

In 2009, a new workplace sitcom launched on NBC that, to some viewers, felt like a transparent clone of megahit "The Office." Created by that show's writers Greg Daniels and Mike Schur for the same network, "Parks and Recreation" also featured a documentary crew going around a workplace — in this case, the Parks Department of the fictional city of Pawnee, Indiana — and documenting the hijinks of its employees, complete with talking head segments to explain or offer thoughts on what was going on. The show's first season found just enough traction to get renewed for a second, and that's when "Parks and Rec" took off.

Over the course of its seven seasons, "Parks and Recreation" became much more than the show that inspired it, transforming into a love story, a story of found family, and a story about the good that government can do when the people who really believe in it roll up their sleeves and get to work. It also made bigger stars out of its established cast members, and new stars out of its unknowns. So, from Amy Poehler's status as a comedy legend to Chris Pratt's action movie evolution, this is what the cast of "Parks and Rec" is doing now.

Amy Poehler - Leslie Knope

After Amy Poehler began her career in improvisational comedy, the actress first drew fans' notice through appearances on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and the "Upright Citizens Brigade" TV series before landing her breakthrough role on "Saturday Night Live." She remained on "SNL" for 11 years, eventually becoming one of the show's most popular cast members and landing a spot as co-anchor on the "Weekend Update" desk.

After "SNL" came "Parks and Recreation," and the role that made Poehler a feminist icon: Leslie Knope. Thanks to her determination, optimism, fierce loyalty, and unbreakable spirit, Leslie became a key figure in American TV comedy throughout the 2010s. She eventually ends the series on an emotional high note with the revelation that her political dreams are, on some level, coming true.

Poehler hasn't slowed down at all since "Parks and Rec" ended. Most recently fans have heard her voice on the hit FOX animated sitcom "Duncanville." The actress' other contemporary projects include the acclaimed films "Wine Country" and "Moxie," the competition series "Making It," and the Netflix reunion series "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp." She's also begun building her resume as a producer, with credits including "Broad City," "Harlem," and "Russian Doll."

Rashida Jones - Ann Perkins

Rashida Jones' screen acting career began to gain steam in the early 2000s with roles on "Boston Public" and "Wanted," and she quickly established herself as a versatile presence across multiple genres. After memorable roles in comedies like "The Office," "Unhitched" and "I Love You, Man," she landed the role of Ann Perkins on "Parks and Rec."

At the beginning of the series, Ann is just someone Leslie and the Parks Department are meant to help out with one big problem (specifically, a pit beside her house), but as the show evolves, Ann and Leslie become the best of friends, Ann gets roped into city government, and she even couples up with new City Manager Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe). Though she departs the show in the middle of Season 6, Ann returns along with Chris for the series finale, and makes an appearance in the show's pandemic reunion special.

Since "Parks and Rec," Jones has stayed very busy. As an actor her recent roles include "#BlackAF," "Duncanville," and the title role in the acclaimed comedy series "Angie Tribeca," created by her former "Office" co-star Steve Carell and his wife Nancy. She's also been busy as a writer and producer, with credits like "Kevin Can F**k Himself" and "Claws" to her name.

Nick Offerman - Ron Swanson

Nick Offerman was acting in film and television for more than a decade before "Parks and Rec" came along, and you may have seen him in shows like "The West Wing," "24," and "George Lopez" along the way. Then came the character of a lifetime, Ron Swanson.

Every "Parks and Rec" star has their devotees, but Swanson is a character who exploded beyond the show into full-on meme territory thanks to his distinctive voice, his unforgettable mustache, and his unique outlook on the world. Within the actual narrative, Ron's gruff exterior often hides a very big heart, particularly when it comes to Leslie, and by the end of the series he is revealed to be a major factor in her success.

Offerman's role as Ron Swanson made him an in-demand star, something he's since used to land a variety of comedic and dramatic roles. His recent credits include everything from "The Great North" to "Devs" to "Hearts Beat Loud," and you'll soon be able to see him as a coach in the Amazon series adaptation of "A League of Their Own."

Adam Scott - Ben Wyatt

Adam Scott was an experienced actor with a reputation for comedic scene-stealing well before "Parks and Rec" came along, thanks in no small part to roles in the cult comedy series "Party Down" and the Adam McKay hit "Step Brothers." As Season 2 turned into Season 3, "Parks and Rec" was looking to shake up the Pawnee city government, and Scott was one of the players they turned to in order to make that happen.

Scott's character Ben Wyatt, a number-crunching nerd brought in to make the city more efficient, brings a layer of awkward adorableness to the show that makes him the perfect foil for Leslie Knope. Eventually, their chemistry becomes romantic, and their love story is a cornerstone of the show's later seasons.

"Parks and Rec" won Scott many more fans, and thus many more opportunities. His credits since the series include the hit HBO drama "Big Little Lies," "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later" (which also starred Amy Poehler), "Ghosted," and "The Good Place."

Chris Pratt - Andy Dwyer

Before "Parks and Recreation," Chris Pratt was perhaps best known for his supporting roles on teen dramas like "Everwood" and "The OC." When he joined the new NBC series, he was initially meant to be only a guest star once again, playing Ann Perkins' slacker boyfriend, Andy Dwyer. But Pratt won over the show's creators, and Andy became a major player in the entire "Parks and Rec" saga, from his search for a meaningful job to his romance with April Ludgate and beyond.

Of course, Pratt also ended up becoming one of the biggest movie stars in the world during his time on the show when he landed the role of Star-Lord in "Guardians of the Galaxy," and got himself into superhero shape in the process. (Andy's explanation for becoming so fit so quickly on "Parks and Rec"? All he did was stop drinking beer.) The first "Guardians" film spawned one sequel, with another on the way, and made Pratt a key player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

More roles in blockbusters like "Jurassic World," "Passengers," and "Onward" soon followed, and they haven't stopped yet. Pratt's latest work includes the sci-fi action film "The Tomorrow War," and he's already preparing for the release of both "Jurassic World: Dominion" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

Aubrey Plaza - April Ludgate

Aubrey Plaza first started gaining notice for work on projects like "UCB Comedy Originals" shorts and a memorable supporting role in the Judd Apatow comedy "Funny People." Her deadpan sense of humor eventually caught the eye of "Parks and Rec" creators, who capitalized on her comedic style to create the delightfully weird, always antisocial Parks Department worker April Ludgate.

Over the course of the show, April evolves from a standoffish weirdo to a warmer, gentler weirdo, thanks in part to Leslie's mentorship and her relationship with Andy Dwyer. Like her co-stars, the show also offered Plaza plenty of new opportunities, which she's since taken full advantage of.

Plaza's post-"Parks and Rec" career has included dramatic roles in shows like "Legion" and "Criminal Minds," romantic comedies like "Happiest Season," indie dramedies like "Ingrid Goes West," and much more. Her upcoming films include "King Knight," "Little Demon," and a still-untitled project with director Guy Ritchie.

Rob Lowe - Chris Traeger

Easily the most famous member of the "Parks and Rec" cast at the time the show began, Rob Lowe first rose to fame as a member of the "Brat Pack" of actors in the 1980s through films like "The Outsiders" and "St. Elmo's Fire," then became a comedy villain in the '90s through "Tommy Boy" and "Wayne's World." In 1999, he got another burst of fame thanks to political drama "The West Wing," which became one of the most acclaimed series on television at the time.

Like Adam Scott, Lowe joined "Parks and Rec" two seasons into its run as an infusion of fresh blood, playing perpetually optimistic city manager Chris Traeger. Obsessed with fitness and constantly trying to pump up his co-workers, Chris eventually becomes a key member of the "Parks" family before leaving the series in Season 6 to pursue a life with Ann Perkins.

Lowe wasted no time in jumping into more high-profile TV roles after his time with "Parks and Rec" was done. His recent starring and co-starring projects include "The Grinder," "Code Black," "Wild Bill," and most recently the hit emergency drama "9-1-1: Lone Star."

Aziz Ansari - Tom Haverford

Before "Parks and Recreation," Aziz Ansari was a rising stand-up comedy star picking up acting roles in projects like "Human Giant," "Scrubs," and a scene-stealing turn in "Funny People." His ability to generate a tremendous amount of energy through comedic personas landed him the role of Tom Haverford, the Parks Department employee with dreams of being a mogul. Over the seasons, we see Tom rise, then fall, then rise again as he keeps trying to hit his stride, and fall in love with his sometimes misguided determination in the process.

Though he's appeared in various projects since "Parks" ended its run, Ansari is perhaps best known for two. If you're a fan of "Bob's Burgers," you've definitely heard him voice the Belcher children's classmate Darryl. And then there's "Master of None," the Netflix romantic comedy series co-created by Ansari that earned him an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. And of course, he's still hitting the stand-up stage.

Jim O'Heir - Jerry Gergich

Jim O'Heir's acting resume stretches all the way back to the early 1990s, and includes everything from bit parts in shows like "The Drew Carey Show" to a recurring part on "Strip Mall" to films like "Accepted."

O'Heir's "Parks and Rec" character, long-serving Parks employee Garry "Jerry" Gergich, starts out as a punching bag for the rest of the department's staff. Over the course of the show, though, the ribbing of Jerry becomes more affectionate. In fact, this dynamic was such a relentless running gag that the show's writers gave the character an incredible life outside of his job to compensate for it.

The show's success, and O'Heir's talent as an action-anchoring straight man, led to plenty more opportunities, and he's been working steadily ever since. Recent projects include "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party," "The Mayor," "Bad Times at the El Royale," and the sitcom "Bless This Mess."

Retta - Donna Meagle

Retta first started making her presence known to audiences primarily as a stand-up comedian, appearing in the early 2000s on shows like "Premium Blend" and "Comedy Central Presents." Stand-up work eventually led to acting work, and as "Parks and Rec" kicked off, Retta was cast as Donna, another bit player working in the Parks Department who, like Jerry, would eventually become a much bigger part of the show.

Confident, dry-witted, and assertive, Donna becomes one of the most capable people in Leslie Knope's friend group over the course of the show, whether she is helping Leslie run for office or treating herself alongside Tom and Ben. Retta's star power was on full display almost from day one, and she became a fan-favorite.

So, naturally, other big roles have since followed. Among her biggest post-"Parks" projects are a voice-acting role on "Pinky Malinky," a role on "Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce," and of course a starring role on the hit crime comedy "Good Girls" alongside Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman.

Paul Schneider - Mark Brendanawicz

Paul Schneider built his career through independent films in the early 2000s, appearing in projects like "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls" before landing larger films like "The Family Stone," "Elizabethtown," and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." As "Parks and Recreation" launched, Schneider was cast as city planner Mark Brendanawicz, the man in city hall that Leslie Knope is desperate to win over romantically and professionally.

Over the course of the first two seasons, it became clear that Mark was less and less a key part of the "Parks" ensemble, and by the end of the second season, Schneider was done with the series to make room for co-stars like Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. He was far from done with major acting roles, however, and his recent projects include high-profile TV roles on "Channel Zero," "Chance," "Tales from the Loop," and "NOS4A2."

Ben Schwartz - Jean-Ralphio Saperstein

Ben Schwartz was only just beginning to establish his talents through films like "Everybody's Fine" and shows like "Mayne Street" when he joined "Parks and Rec" during its second season as Jean-Ralphio Saperstein, Tom Haverford's spoiled, freewheeling, and boisterously overconfident best friend. Though he never becomes a main character, Jean-Ralphio's presence on "Parks and Rec" is an essential element of its comedy, from his attempts to start a business with Tom to all the times he comes in after a night of partying to tell a wild story about how he's ended up homeless or broke or both.

Schwartz's show-stopping presence got him noticed fast, and since then he's been very busy both as a live-action and voice acting star. Viewers have since seen him in everything from "House of Lies" to "Happy Anniversary" to "Space Force," and his voice talents have been featured on "BoJack Horseman," "DuckTales," and perhaps most memorably, the title role in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie. A sequel to the latter is on the way.

Mo Collins - Joan Callamezzo

Mo Collins spent the 2000s establishing herself as a memorable character comedian through live-action work on shows like "Arrested Development," voice acting in series like "Invader ZIM" and, of course, her work as a starring cast member of "MAD TV." As Joan Callamezzo on "Parks and Recreation," Collins became one of the most visible members of the larger Pawnee community, consistently showing up as a guest star.

Joan's status as the most high-profile media presence in town makes her essential to promoting whatever the Parks crew is trying to get done, but her knack for overindulging in drugs and alcohol and generally being addicted to attention often makes her a handful and occasionally does more harm than good from the Parks Department's perspective.

Collins' knack for character work and voice development means she has continued to work frequently in film and television, performing in both voice and live-action roles. Her recent credits on the voice front include everything from "Puppy Dog Pals" to "F is For Family," and her live-action work includes comedies like "Lady Dynamite" as well as more dramatic work like "Fear the Walking Dead."