'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' returns, will Gina be in the precinct house? Andy Samberg speaks

When “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” returns Tuesday night for its spring premiere, viewers will almost immediately get the answer to the question that has been looming for months: Is Gina dead???

In the craziest cliffhanger the Fox comedy has ever seen, the midseason finale ended with the precinct’s sardonic civilian administrator, Gina (Chelsea Peretti), getting hit by a bus. The whole ordeal took the old saying “be careful what you wish for” to the extreme, since the accident happened after Gina proclaimed she’d rather get hit by a bus than get another text message from annoying co-worker Charles (Joe Lo Truglio).

“A little time has passed when we pick up, and Gina’s fate will get answered,” Andy Samberg, who plays Det. Jake Peralta, told The Times.

The return episode, titled “Audit,” will also see the squad attempting to demonstrate the Nine-Nine’s efficiency after it becomes clear that Brooklyn will have to shut down one of its police precincts. Making that tricky: Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Teddy (Kyle Bornheimer), is in charge of auditing the Nine-Nine. (For the uninitiated: Amy, played by Melissa Fumero, dumped Teddy to be with Jake.)

We spoke with Samberg by phone about hanging with penguins, his itch to do stand-up again and the tactic he’s considering to get out of speeding tickets.

With Amy’s ex back in the picture in the return episode, the idea of dullness comes up. What's the most boring trait about you?

I've been playing “Angry Birds 2” a lot, that's pretty boring. My wife certainly finds it very boring. Probably either that or how much I love the docu-series’ “Planet Earth” and “Planet Earth II.”

Oh, but I think everyone would agree that “Planet Earth” is pretty amazing.

I love them so much. I've been freaking out on the new season. I can't quite put my finger on it. The first part of it — which is telling already of how boring this is — is I just love the innovations in the camera work. I can't understand how they get the footage and it blows my mind.

It's crazy. A lot of it is drones but then I was just watching some of the behind-the-scenes — also boring of me — and I saw they will wait for like hundreds of hours. They set up camp in these little like hovels. I just watched one where they were waiting for these eagles. They are these dudes who were there for like 100-plus hours, just sitting there waiting for an eagle to maybe land in front of them.

Could this be an alternate career for you? Do you wonder, "Could I do this? Could I be one of those people sitting up waiting?"

I definitely felt jealous of the crew that went to the crazy island where all the penguins were. It's on a volcano and it was incredible. Incredible. I would like to hang with them, yeah. I'm not outdoorsy enough to pull it off. You have to have your wits about you in a physical way. I'm more of a stand-on-set-and-think-of-silly-quips type.

You’ve got some fun guest stars this season. Gina Gershon, Greg Germann, and Nathan Fillion, the latter of whom plays an actor who plays a detective and thinks he’s capable of solving cases because of that. Is that a veiled crack at you?

Definitely not. It's a miracle that I can memorize some of the lines about cracking the case. On set I'm always trying to see if I can say the sort of boring case-type stuff as fast as possible. I always talk about pulling a [Benedict] Cumberbatch— like, "Ah, I feel like I was 60% too Cumberbatch on that one." No one says case stuff and clue stuff faster than Cumberbatch, in the history of history.

This season viewers were finally introduced to Jake’s dad, who was played by Bradley Whitford. Will we be seeing more of him?

I don't believe there's any more of him in this season, but he’s always on Jake’s mind. It was fun having Bradley on. He was the perfect person to cast because I both think he's the greatest and am also slightly scared of him.

Wait, why?

My fear predates “Get Out.” I think it's probably just because he's Eric from “Billy Madison” and I always think of him as the bad guy. I don't know, he's an alpha, you know? But he was perfect for the role. It's the same thing as like working with [costar] Andre [Braugher]. When actors come in and they have that presence and gravitas, it gives you an angle because you know who you're really dealing with. It's not just like saying the lines. You really feel that energy. It definitely helps.

How are things going with your next HBO comedy, your mockumentary on doping in cycling, “The Tour De Pharmacy”?

They're going wonderfully. I'm actually at the office editing today. We're really excited. I think we're looking at this summer. I don't think HBO has decided officially yet, so I'm not making any announcements, but I'm hoping that is what happens. It's coming along. It's really funny. We've got a crazy cast, once again.

There are five primary cyclists. There's Orlando Bloom, there's Daveed Diggs, there's John Cena, there's Freddie Highmore and there's me. Three of those five are very good at cycling. I'm not going to say who the two are that aren't as good, but they might be the last two.

Was there a lot of training for it? Or at least a spin class to break the ice?

No. I mean, Orlando is actually someone who cycles in his spare time. James Marsden is also in it, he plays the part of a reporter, and he also has done a lot of like semi-professional cycling. The two of them really set the bar. Then Daveed and Cena are just natural athletes. We just hit the ground spinning. I want to say "We all did SoulCycle," or something, but no, there was no such training.

You have a lot of projects in the works on TV with your Lonely Island crew — “Alone Together” for Freeform and “I’m Sorry” for truTV. Your plate is pretty full, but do you ever get the itch to do stand-up again?

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I do get the itch all the time and I loved doing it when I did do it. I did it for seven years before “SNL.” I never did the road so I never considered myself a true stand-up because I think that is a huge part of it.

I loved it and sometimes I think about wanting to do it just because you get put in a different conversation when people are talking about comedians. Sometimes I'm like, "Hey, I want to get talked about when people talk about comedians." At the same time, I love production more. I love shooting and acting on camera and writing and the producing side of things now. I prefer it. It's more comfortable and it's the reason I started doing stand-up really, so that I could eventually get to do production. That was always kind of the thing I loved the most, was the creating of stories and shows. I think people who really excel at stand-up, it's their first love. That's how you get to be like Louis [C.K.] or [Amy] Schumer or Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle and all of these people who are the best now. You just do it all the time, no matter what. I don't think that I can commit to that, so I don't want to like disrespect it.

Have you been watching “Saturday Night Live” lately? Are you keeping up with what it’s doing right now?

I watch every episode. I think it's great. This year in particular, I've really loved. You're starting to get that thing that happens when the show is really working where it just cuts to a cast member and people start giggling before they even say anything because they know what their vibe is. It's been really cool and exciting. Obviously, with everything happening politically in the world, they're having a field day. I think it's probably super stressful for them but also fun, which is how the show always is. Especially when a lot of people are watching, it gets to be that, because you're like, "Oh, we’ve got some eyes on us. We’ve got to make sure we do something." But, yeah, I've been enjoying it tremendously.

When we talked ahead of the launch of “Brooklyn,” you said that you were daydreaming of using this role to get out of speeding tickets and to get more free doughnuts. Four seasons in, how's that working for you?

Neither of those things have happened. But one person in our crew had a “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” hat or bag or something in their passenger seat and they got pulled over, I think for a taillight. The cop was like, "Hey, what's going on?" They're like, "Oh, I didn't know it was out." The cop was like, "Hey, 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' I love that show." They're like, "Oh, I work for it," and they let them off with a warning. So I think I should definitely look into wearing like head-to-toe 'B Nine-Nine' gear every time I get in the car.

Yes, me too.

All the windows down, just blasting the theme song.

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