February 25, 1976– Rashida Jones:
“I consider myself a feminist… There is a difference, a key one, between shaming and holding someone accountable. I’m asking people to take a breath and talk about it. I also wanted to say there’s more than one way to be a woman and be sexy, like, you’re a really great dancer, or you’re really fucking smart.”
I appreciated the way that TBS released its new Sunday ludicrous comedy series Angie Tribeca this winter, with 25 hours of non-stop, commercial-free viewing of the first season. When there is a show this silly, it’s just too much fun to overindulge, like with chocolate or sex. The series, created by actor Steve Carell and his funny wife Nancy, packs in an average of 11 eye-rolling jokes per minute, the sort of absurdist, deadpan stuff we loved in films like Airplane! (1980) and Mad Magazine.
Rashida Jones is wonderful in this show, but she is just kind of wonderful in general. There is something so alluring about a pretty girl who can be truly funny. Jones comes across as captivating, charming, and a total cutie pie. She is probably best known for her work on the hit sitcoms The Office (2005-2013) and Parks And Recreation (2009-2015).
Jones, a strong advocate for Gay Rights and Marriage Equality has played gay several times, including a role as a lesbian in Our Idiot Brother (2011) where she kisses Zooey Deschanel who plays her girlfriend, and in East Of A (2000) and If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000).
Jones is Hollywood royalty; the daughter of famed 27 time Grammy Award winning musician/arranger/producer Quincy Jones and the coolest chick of the 1970s, Mod Squad (1968-1973) star Peggy Lipton, who also starred in the short lived, but landmark Twin Peaks (1990-91). Jones grew up around gay people like family friends mogul David Geffen, manager Sandy Gallin and other famous gays. Jones now says:
“I have had very positive association with gay men from an early age”
It wasn’t until she was an adult that Jones learned about homophobia and discrimination. Feeling like an outsider as a chubby biracial kid, Jones was often drawn to gay people who shared some of her perspectives:
“I would never claim marginality, but I did have a hard time figuring out where I belonged when I went to college.”
When she moved away from home, her social circle ended up being “very gay.” “I did have a hard time figuring out where I belonged when I went to college.”
“I actually looked to my lesbian friends for approval of my portrayal of a lesbian. That’s crazy, of course, because there’s such a large gamut that lesbians run, but they gave me the thumbs up.”
Jones began singing and acting at Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, along with classmates Paris Hilton and someone they call Kim Kardashian, of whom she once said:
“They were on my bus. Can you imagine, being on a bus where two of the 10 people get famous for having sex tapes?”
After high school, Jones attended Harvard University, where she majored in Religion and Philosophy, and sang with Harvard’s a cappella group, The Harvard Opportunes. She got singing gigs after she graduated in 1997, including singing backup for Maroon 5 and Tupac Shakur.
The Tupac connection may seem weird, and it truly is. The late rapper called out Quincy Jones for his relationships with white women, saying: “All he does is stick his dick in white bitches and make fucked up kids.”
Real gutsy for a 17 year old, Jones wrote a searing response where she defended her father saying he had paved the way for artists like Tupac. She also took the rapper to task for his “ignorance and lack of respect for his people”. Somehow, after the exchange, the rapper met Jones’ sister Kidada, became her boyfriend, and he was able to make amends with Jones and her father, becoming a valued friend of the Jones family. It is a story of forgiveness, enlightenment, and communication that we can all take a cue from today.
Jones first professional role was in the television miniseries The Last Don (1997). She received attention and good reviews for her work on on the series Boston Public (2000-2004) before joining the cast of The Office, in 2006. She also landed interesting supporting roles in films like I Love You, Man (2009), The Social Network (2010), The Muppets (2011), and Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012), for which she also wrote the screenplay. I thought she was pretty swell in Netflix’ A Very Murray Christmas (2015) with Bill Murray, a new holiday tradition at my house.
Jones has been romantically linked to a bunch of famous guys, including pocket sized sweetie-pie Tobey Maguire, Jon Favreau, the director/actor turned speechwriter for Barack Obama, superstar music producer Mark Ronson who just won a Grammy for Record Of The Year with Uptown Funk, and her The Office co-star John Krasinski.
Jones is on the board of Peace First, an organization that seeks to train children as natural problem solvers and creative thinkers, and invest in their ability to see themselves as leaders. Her other charities include Stand Up To Cancer and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Jones is an outspoken supporter of our terrific current President.
Jones is the executive producer of the Netflix documentary Hot Girls Wanted (2015) about young women working as porn actors. She is currently finishing the screenplay for Toy Store 4, which I hope is about Woody & Buzz working as porn actors. It comes out for Christmas 2018.
“My writing partner, Will McCormack is a morning person, and I’m a night person. But we’ve found a sweet spot for working together. It’s called the afternoon.”