Jake Johnson on how ‘New Girl’ made him ‘a better man’ [Video]

“I’m not too cool for school. I really hope the show gets nominated for an Emmy,” says actor Jake Johnson, who stars on FOX’s freshman comedy “New Girl,” which was recently renewed for a second season. “I hope we win,” he adds, “and I hope we get to do it a lot.”

It’s possible he’ll get his wish. The series has already been nominated at the People’s Choice Awards, the Writers’ Guild Awards, and the Golden Globes.

This year’s Globes ceremony was the first for Johnson. “New Girl” was nominated for Best TV Comedy/Musical Series and Best TV Comedy/Musical Actress for Zooey Deschanel, losing to “Modern Family” and Laura Dern (“Enlightened“), respectively. “One of our showrunners, Brett Baer … he and I ended up drinking too much wine … If Zooey won I might have stood up and made a clown of myself, stage-momming it from the crowd, like ‘Smile, honey, smile!'”

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“New Girl” is the first major series role for Johnson, who wrote plays in New York and aspired to be a screenwriter before transitioning to acting. “Man was I not getting the work,” he says of his writing career. “You can only not get work long enough before you decide to make a change.” In recent years he appeared in supporting roles in “Paper Heart” (2009), “Get Him to the Greek” (2010), and “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” (2011). He was also featured in “No Strings Attached” (2011), which was written by eventual “New Girl” creator Elizabeth Meriwether, who asked him to audition for the series.

“‘New Girl’ has made me a better man,” says Johnson, who credits the show with helping him to overcome his lazier tendencies. Keeping the long hours in perspective, he explains, “It’s a lot easier than being a coal miner … Sometimes we get out at two or three in the morning and I’ll see workers working on the highway, and I think, yeah, I can’t feel bad for myself anymore. Those guys do a real job.”

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