Who doesn’t love Amy Poehler? Just look at the author photo from her new book, Yes, Please and try not to crack a smile. It’s impossible, right? Let’s follow the arc of her career, from improv to television and film.
Poehler got her start doing improv and sketch comedy as one of the first members of the Upright Citizens Brigade. Within a few years they went from being performed in Chicago live to a three season stint on Comedy Central from 1998 to 2000, where Poehler and her gang “with no government ties and unlimited resources” created chaos around the world with pranks and unique characters that were brought back for each season finale. Within a year of its cancellation, she joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, and you can see her best work (recurring characters like Bronx housewife Betty Caruso, Amber the one-legged hypoglycemic and hyperactive little girl Kaitlin, not to mention Weekend Update and her impersonation of Hillary Clinton) in Saturday Night Live: The Best of Amy Poehler.
She departed SNL in 2008 to star in her own sitcom, Parks and Recreation. This beloved NBC sitcom about small-town politics and bureaucracy with the small but fiercely loyal audience is now in its sixth season. It got off to a rough start with a poorly received first season, with critics claiming it was too similar to The Office and saddling Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, as an earnest ditz, was not utilizing her best asset – her likability. It was retooled in the second season and she won us over with her relentlessly good cheer, a strong supporting cast and top-notch writing, and she won a Golden Globe this year for her performance.
Poehler’s movie career has largely consisted of supporting and bit parts in comedies. Check her out in her first major role in Baby Mama, where she plays Angie, the streetwise – and homeless – surrogate mother to Kate (Tina Fey). The palpable chemistry between Poehler and Fey made what could have been a forgettable comedy a winner with critics and audiences. This year, Poehler and Paul Rudd co-starred in They Came Together, a meta romantic comedy that both spoofs and pays tribute to rom-coms. And Poehler and Fey are reuniting in 2015 with The Nest, as sisters who throw a house party in their childhood home before their parents sell it. I, for one, can’t wait.
~posted by Frank