The long-running NBC show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has been delighting viewers for years. The show follows a bunch of misfits in a police precinct in New York City. The hilarious, quirky cast of characters has made this show one of the funniest on television — and critics seem to agree. The Guardian called it a “low-stakes, pop-savvy workplace sitcom that just happens to be set in a Brooklyn police precinct,” while a reviewer at Vox wrote, “‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ is my happy place in a world of chaos.”
If you’re anything like us, you totally love the show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” too. After all, it’s hard not to fall in love with the show’s larger-than-life yet relatable characters. Want to find out a little more about the actors behind this loveable group? We’ve discovered some little-known facts about the people who make this show what it is. Here is the untold truth of the cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast all chat on a group WhatsApp
Sometimes, when you watch a TV show, you assume that the cast must all be best friends in real life, and in the case of the “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” cast, this seems to be pretty close to the truth. As Terry Crews, who plays Terry Jeffords on the show, said at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, “We were all on a big WhatsApp chain.” When Fox canceled the show, the cast took to the group WhatsApp to commiserate. “There was immense sadness,” Crews said. “I didn’t know what was up or down … it felt like a family splitting up” (via BuzzFeed). Luckily, NBC picked up the show just one day later — possibly thanks in part to the show’s loyal fans — so the cast didn’t have to mourn on their WhatsApp group for long.
We totally love hearing that the cast share a WhatsApp group, especially as it reminds us of a 2021 “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” plotline where Boyle gets banned from the precinct’s group chat.
These two Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast members were childhood friends
If you ever wanted proof that the cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” were destined to come together for the show, look no further. It turns out that Andy Samberg, who plays Jake Peralta, and Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina, were actually good friends when they were kids.
As Peretti told Conan O’Brien, “We went to elementary school [together], we had Miss Christenson as our principal.” She went on to confess that she actually had a “huge crush” on Samberg when she was young. “I used to call his house on, like, the old timey phones that we used to have,” she said. Apparently, she would call and hang up over and over again. “I don’t know what my end game was, really, I didn’t have a plan, there was no emojis then, that would have made it so easy,” she joked. O’Brien then shows a picture of the pair as kids in a car. How cute!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Terry Crews has this hilarious hidden talent
Terry Crews is one “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star that may not strike you as a guy who would play the flute, but, it turns out, the actor is actually quite skilled. In 2019, Crews appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” where he performed in a flute striptease act. After one flautist was rejected by Simon Cowell, Crews told her, “A lot of times they don’t understand us.” He then proceeded to approach the judge’s panel, where he told Cowell, “The flute is an amazing instrument.” Then, he began to play. Later in the show, he came back to the stage to perform in a topless flute act. He even tweeted after the show, “Do NOT talk bad about the flute!”
Crews also showcased his flute-playing skills in 2016 on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” “My great aunt, when I was a little kid, I was about eight years old, she said, ‘What do you want, you know, what instrument do you wanna play?'” He said, “Flute,” not thinking anything would come of it. Then, at Christmas, she gave him a flute! “My mother made me play the flute for like seven, eight years. I play the flute, I’m a flautist,” he joked.
Andy Samberg once worked as an assistant on the same lot where Brooklyn Nine-Nine films
It’s hard to imagine Andy Samberg was ever an out-of-work actor, especially since he landed the role of Jake Peralta on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” shortly after starring on “Saturday Night Live.” However, as the actor told The New York Times, he was once a production assistant for the show “Spin City,” which actually filmed on the same set as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” “I went and got everybody’s lunches every day,” he recalled. But now, he’s the leading man (with a net worth that’s probably more than you think). “And now I have my own parking space,” he went on. “It feels real good.”
Even though Samberg began his time on “Spin City” as a production assistant, the job did kickstart his career. As he told New York Magazine, he ended up showing his comedy group’s reel to his boss, which eventually led to his first audition — the entire group was cast on “SNL,” and the rest is history.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Chelsea Peretti is a screenwriter as well as an actress
Chelsea Peretti has proven her comedic acting chops as Gina in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” but, it turns out, the actress is also a talented comedy writer, having written for “Parks and Recreation,” “The Sarah Silverman Program,” and “SNL” (via IMDb).
As Peretti explained to The New York Times, writing has become a big focus for her — she even left “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in 2019 to focus on her writing career. “I’m writing a movie, and so I’m pretty consumed by that,” she said. “I want to write a comedy that’s funny because I feel like comedy movies haven’t been that funny for a long time.” Apparently, “Bridesmaids” is the only comedy she really enjoys from recent years.
Peretti went on to explain that she has taken inspiration from old Steve Martin movies. “I feel like what I see in these older movies is people really allowing comedic performances to sing,” she said. We can’t wait to see her next writing project!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz has an eyebrow scar from tripping over Legos
Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Rosa on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” has a pretty badass scar on her eyebrow. It suits her no-nonsense character and gives her a real edge. However, it turns out, this scar isn’t quite as badass as it looks. When someone asked about the scar in 2014, the actress tweeted in reply, “a) I tripped on some Legos when I was  or b) knife fight.” We’ll give you a hint — it’s option “a.”
In a 2019 interview for Collider about “LEGO Movie 2,” in which Beatriz played General Mayhem, she explained the origin story of her scar. “I was like 10 or 11, and Legos were one of my favorite toys … and I had many sets and I had kind of created my own, like, basically my own Bricksburg on the floor in my bedroom,” she said, “and I kept getting told that I needed to clean it up and I refused and then I tripped over a chunk of it and the scar in my eyebrow is from that accident when I was 10 years old.” Definitely not so badass after all!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon have their own on-set antics
Two of the best characters on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” are Scully and Hitchcock, the “Buddy cops,” played by Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon. This silly pair is often seen in the background of scenes behaving like — well — idiots.
The show’s creator Dan Goor explained more about the pair’s antics at the ATX Festival. “If you were to pause on any given frame in the bullpen, you’ll see them doing something ludicrous in the background, like they’re darning socks, there was a whole saga of Scully’s feet in the first season.” Chelsea Peretti added, “They bring in, like, their own props, they think of ideas of stuff they wanna do, they’ll be building things, they’re always, like, deep into a world.”
The show certainly wouldn’t be the same without their bizarre activities in the background, and this news just makes us love them even more!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz once worked as a workout instructor
Before landing the role of Rosa on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Stephanie Beatriz had a slightly different career. As she told the BUILD Series, she had been struggling to find acting work at the time. “I had like $50 in my bank account and was teaching workout classes,” she said.
She went on to explain that she’d been hoping to act in a comedy and she’d been asking her agent to find her a show like “Parks and Rec.” Initially, Beatriz auditioned to play Amy Santiago, because she was Latina. Eventually, Beatriz auditioned to play Megan, a character that eventually became Rosa. “I had an audition for her, I really loved the character,” Beatriz said.
She eventually screen tested for both roles. While her screen test for Amy didn’t go so well, she nailed the audition for Megan and landed the role. She must have been pretty grateful to finally land this role!
Joe Lo Truglio from Brooklyn Nine-Nine once had a career as an animator
Like Stephanie Beatriz, Joe Lo Truglio, who plays Charles Boyle on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” also had another career before the series: He actually worked in animation.
As the actor told ComingSoon.net in 2011, he animated for the show “The State.” “I still draw… I’m actually working on a project now that’s short animated horror fairy tales and I’m working on with a guy named Jeff Short,” he said. He went on to explain that he had actually planned on doing more drawing and animating, but acting projects had taken up too much of his time.
Lo Truglio’s talent from drawing apparently began when he was a kid. “I made my own comic called Crud Magazine that was very much like Mad,” he recalled. “This was in [sixth] grade, and it had its own mascot, Melvin Crud, and the editor was Spencer Drool.” Wow, sounds like this is a man of many talents!
Before acting, Terry Crews of Brooklyn Nine-Nine once worked as a courtroom artist
Joe Lo Truglio actually isn’t the only artist on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” — Terry Crews also had another career, thanks to his drawing skills. As Crews explained on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Before I started acting, that was one of my things,” referring to his portfolio of sketches. “My first job in entertainment period, I drew courtroom sketches for the worst murder case in Flint, Michigan history,” he went on.
The case was way back in 1987, and Crews was just 18 years old when he got the job, in part, with his father’s help. Because this was before the time of CGI, Crews was responsible for painting images of crimes for the news reports. As Crews explained, his father told a TV network, “My boy can paint, you give him a job right now!” And, eventually, an occasional gig became a regular one — purely by chance. “What happened was the sketch artist for the courtroom was not able to come” in one night, and, from that point on, Crews sketched for the show “every night.” We have to say — we’re super impressed!
Before Brooklyn Nine-Nine and America's Got Talent, Terry Crews had a sports career
So, we already know that Terry Crews is a flautist and an ex-courtroom sketch artist — but, it turns out, he had yet another career before acting. Crews once played professional football in the NFL — could this guy be any more talented?
As Business Insider reported, Crews didn’t have a particularly successful career as a football player. He played with the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 and later for the San Diego Chargers and the Washington Redskins. In 1996, he quit after playing only 32 games in over five years.
As Crews explained, being a football player actually made it harder for him to break into the acting world. “It was a big shock to me,” he said. “I moved to Los Angeles thinking that because I was a football player, I was going to get a lot of big opportunities.” Luckily, he persevered and eventually landed his first role in the film “Friday After Next.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Melissa Fumero was a dancer for many years
Like many of her “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” castmates, Melissa Fumero, who plays Amy Santiago, wasn’t always an actor. In fact, as she told Good Housekeeping in 2014, she was once a dancer. “I was a serious dancer all the way into my late 20s, and I was pretty fierce,” she said. “Like a little ballerina contemporary-modern chick.” She even worked as a ballet teacher when she was in high school, according to this tweet. Wow, sounds like she was pretty talented.
Indeed, Fumero was pretty “fierce.” There is even a video of one of her dance auditions on YouTube, where she can be seen leaping around a studio to the song “Wild Horses” by Natasha Bedingfield.
Of course, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” hasn’t exactly given her many opportunities to show off her dance skills. In 2020, Fumero tweeted a video of Amy Santiago’s horrible dancing with the caption, “I would like to formally thank every dance teacher I ever had (I had so many) for their contributions.” Hopefully, her next role will be just a little more graceful.
These two Brooklyn Nine-Nine actors come from a classical theater background
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is one of the funniest, goofiest shows around — it’s hard to imagine any of the cast members in a serious drama. However, it turns out, both Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Rosa, and Andre Braugher, who plays Ray Holt, come from a background of classical theater acting.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, Beatriz is actually a “stage-trained Shakespearean actress.” This experience gave loads of depth to Rosa’s more dramatic moments. As Andy Samberg said, “When you’re in a scene with Stephanie and you need to play a moment real, she can pull that other move out where you’re like, ‘Whoa, we’re not screwing around!'”
As for Braugher, he studied acting at the prestigious Juilliard Drama School and even won an Obie for acting in Shakespeare in the Park prior to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (via Variety). And, apparently, Braugher is still a huge Shakespeare fan. There’s only one play he doesn’t know, and, as he told The New York Times, he plans to keep it that way. “I’ve never read [‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre’] because I’d like to see one Shakespeare play that I don’t know what happens.”
Sounds like both Rosa and Ray Holt are such great characters, in part thanks to the actors’ training and experience with drama — who knew!
All of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine characters were inspired by the actors who play them
While the cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” certainly have their differences from their characters, they are actually more similar than you may realize. Apparently, Dan Goor, the show’s creator, tried to model the characters off of the actors. As Goor wrote in a Reddit Q&A, “Before Mike [Schur] and I finalized the pilot, we met all the actors and tried to incorporate their ideas and aspects of their personalities into the characters, which helped dimensionalize them.”
Over the years, a lot of real-life links have been made. For instance, Rosa came out as bisexual at the same time the actor, Stephanie Beatriz, did, and Jeffords is an artist, much like the actor who plays him, Terry Crews. Plus, the character of Gina was created for Chelsea Peretti (via ATX), and Jake Peralta’s catch phrase “cool cool cool cool cool” was actually inspired by Andy Samberg’s own speech habits on set (via Twitter). Sounds like a lot of the comedy on this show is really all thanks to the actors themselves.
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