Student actor juggles classes, career

Sophomore continues to audition for film roles while balancing classes, Mask and Wig

· November 19, 2010, 4:28 am   ·  Updated November 19, 2010, 12:00 am

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College sophomore Jonah Meyerson played Uzi in the critically acclaimed film “The Royal Tenenbaums.” He acts at Penn and interns for “30 Rock” in New York.


No longer the jumpsuit-clad Uzi Tenenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums, Jonah Meyerson is all grown up.

A College sophomore, Meyerson has appeared in film and on television but remains best known for his role as Ben Stiller’s son in Wes Anderson’s cult classic. Meyerson chose to prioritize school over his career, yet he still auditions and acts in movies and commercials.

In addition to his classes, Meyerson commutes to Manhattan once a week to intern at NBC for the hit show 30 Rock. He is also a member of the comedy troupes Mask and Wig and Without a Net.

As a freshman, Meyerson didn’t discuss his acting so that his resume wouldn’t define him. Though he doesn’t think many Penn students know his background now, Meyerson said “people know me well enough,” so he felt he could talk about his accomplishments without being judged.

Meyerson described his breakout role in The Royal Tenenbaums as being exciting, though he wishes he had “really known how great it was when it happened. I was only 10.” In 2007, he earned a Young Artist Award nomination for his role in Griffin and Phoenix.

A New York City native and graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Meyerson feels his acting career has slowed down in college, since when he lived in Manhattan, auditioning was “like an extracurricular.” Still, he recently appeared in an “Above the Influence” commercial for MTV and flew out to California earlier this month to audition for an MTV show, The Inbetweeners.

Fellow Mask and Wig member and Engineering sophomore Isaac Wenger said he doesn’t “know how [Meyerson] does everything,” noting that he always shows up to meetings.

Wenger added that he is “very impressed with all that [Meyerson] accomplishes.”

College Junior and Mask and Wig member Alon Gur called Meyerson “sharp and witty, just like a walking Onion article.”

Gur said Meyerson’s least favorite activity is watching his own movies and commercials, which Gur said he will have to get over since “one day his name is going to be on every movie in Hollywood.”

Meyerson said he “definitely want[s] to do something with film” in the future, although he isn’t sure whether he sees himself acting, writing or directing.

An Arrested Development fan, Meyerson hopes to work with Mitchell Hurwitz as well as Aaron Sorkin and Jim Carrey, whom he has always idolized. “As a little kid I used to look at myself in the mirror and recite his lines from Ace Ventura," he said.

Friends attest that Meyerson has a bright future ahead of him. Gur shared how, during the Mask and Wig fall show, Meyerson’s toga fell off mid performance. But Meyerson didn’t panic, but rather “turned a negative wardrobe malfunction into audience laughter in a way that Janet Jackson could only dream of.”

Gur watched The Royal Tenenbaums for the first time after meeting Meyerson, which made it “especially cool because Jonah basically looks the same, only smaller and definitely cooler — those red jumpsuits are pretty baller.”

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