A glimpse into the weird, beautiful bubble of Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson


Interviews are pretty much glorified small talk with lots of small factors that determine whether or not it will be worthwhile in print. Talking to people is pretty easy, but when Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. came into town to promote their new movie, “Let’s Be Cops,” the odds were not stacked in my favor.

Johnson and Wayans work together on the Fox show, “New Girl,” and it is clear to everyone that the connection they have goes beyond coworkers and friends. They never miss a beat and actively try to make each other laugh.

It’s great to see a glimpse of that, even when they are eating way too much food at Devil’s Advocate in the middle of the day in the miserable Arizona summer.

The two actors were in town to do press and attend a Q&A after a student screening of the film. In front of a large theater audience, they cracked everyone up and won the entire place over.

In the middle of their lunch with wing sauce in their face, our interview was a little scrambled. Johnson revealed his love for “Law & Order: SVU” while Wayans revealed his love for Johnson. Here are some of the highlights to get an idea of what it’s like when these two dudes hang out.

College Times: What made you want to get involved with this movie?

Wayans: I read the script and thought it was really fresh. Everyone has seen these buddy cop movies where one guy is the tough cop and one guy is the comedy relief. This one is different in that these two characters aren’t cops. I thought that was really interesting. Everything they do is sort of illegal, so once I found out he (Johnson) was doing it, I called him up and said, “I’ll do it if you do it.” That’s how we got it done.

Do you make other decisions the same way?

Johnson: Yes. Every decision. We check on each other quite a bit.

Wayans: We work with each other all the time. I literally see him almost every day of my life. It’s kind of obnoxious.

What was it like putting on the uniforms for the first time?

Wayans: It was very heavy.

Johnson: We had the official uniforms, so we had the bullet proof vest—all of it.

Wayans: The belt with all the gadgets on it.

Johnson: I have a lot of respect for police officers. It was really cool to wear the costume and drive the cop car.

If you were to be arrested for anything, what would it be?

Wayans: Expired tags. That’s why I’ve gotten arrested before. At the airport I got arrested.

Johnson: Showing my hog to a boys’ choir. If I were to be arrested, it would be a boys’ choir singing hip-hop songs but in that way that they do it on “Glee.”

Wayans: It’s like “Pitch Perfect”with hogs.

Johnson: I just whip my hog out ‘til the cops come.

If you could have anyone for a cop partner, who would you choose?

Johnson: I would do the late, great Dennis Farina. He was a real cop and a real tough dude. He was a real kind of “had your back” guy.

Wayans: I would probably pick Albert Einstein, because he had really good strategy and if he pissed me off I could be like, “SHUT UP, NERD!”

Johnson: Or Chuck Norris.

Wayans: Chuck Norris now? Or…

Johnson: No, “Delta Force” Chuck Norris, like ’88.

Let’s play marry/f*ck/kill with buddy cop movies. “Lethal Weapon,” “Point Break,” and “Ride Along.”

Johnson: Marry “Lethal Weapon…”

(An entire glass of ice water is spilled everywhere and more food has arrived.)

Wayans: You are a child. It’s called gravity, son. I’m not helping at all. “Lethal Weapon,” marry, “Point Break,” f*ck, kill “Ride Along.” Marry, f*ck or kill, Jake Johnson? Marry Jake Johnson, f*ck Jake Johnson, kill him if he ever cheats on me.

How about “The Heat,” “21 Jump Street,” and “Rush Hour?”

Wayans: Marry “Rush Hour,” f*ck “22 Jump Street,” kill “The Heat.

Ok, now “Law & Order: SVU,” Mariska Hargitay…

Johnson: She’s great.

Christopher Meloni…

Johnson: Stabler’s great.

and Ice-T…

Johnson: I’m gonna kill Ice-T, marry Olivia Benson and let Stabler f*ck me? No, wait, I mean, what?

Wayans: I’m for sure f*cking Ice-T. I love that show.

Johnson: Special Victim’s is so good. It used to be. Stabler and Benson were so good together.

What were some of the highlights of shooting this movie?

Johnson: We had a lot of fun improvising and clowning around. Really, the cast was so fun. We had a really good crew. One of our camera operators, Harry, has done “New Girl” with us, so we all knew each other. Our ACs had done it so there were a lot of familiar faces. But it was a really fun set.

Wayans: The more fun you have, the better.

If you could make a sequel with an unlimited budget, what would you like to do with these characters?

Wayans: If you can do anything you want, bring Iron Man into that shit.

Johnson: No.

Wayans: It would just be cool to have RDJ in black face, but he’s also Iron Man.


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