Bonus Amy

I actually interviewed Poehler again a few years later, for a short article for the Rolling Stone “Hot Issue” in the fall of 2002 as she entered her second season of Saturday Night Live. I was a little bummed after I got off the phone with her: surprisingly, she hadn’t been particularly funny or quotable. I was uncertain how I was going to make the article work. The next day, Poehler called me back, and asked if she had been, well, not very funny. I told her that was, in fact, the case. She blamed low blood sugar and asked if we could do it again. That’s the only time I can remember an interview subject asking for a retake, and it was a smart move on her part: the second time around, she kicked ass. Well, see for yourself:

Amy Poehler, the brightest new spark on Saturday Night Live, ponders the question of what else is hot right now. “Threatening to move to France,” she says. “And young, nubile, hard-body girls? Surprisingly, still hot.”

Tina Fey, SNL‘s head writer and Weekend Updatist, analyzes Poehler’s talents: “She plays a fabulous array of dirty white trash–that’s always useful–and tomboys. She’s tough. She’s like a Bowery Boy with Beverly D’Angelo’s face. Also, she’s physically really fearless, and because of her size, you can throw her around.”

“Vanity is the comedy killer,” says Poehler, 30 years old. “You start wondering if your roots are done, and that’s the end.” Keeping her own ego in check, she regularly plays the role of Amber on Saturday Night Live: a one-legged hypoglycemic prone to flatulence.

Poehler grew up in the Boston suburbs, the daughter of two high-school teachers. After college, she moved to Chicago, where she took improv classes with the legendary Del Close and then spent years trying to make a living in comedy. “She waited tables for so many years, she’s can’t turn off her waitress brain,” says Fey. “She’s funny to eat in restaurants with–she’ll say things like, ‘We’re waiting on four waters and two apps.'”

Poehler was a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, whose show ran for three seasons on Comedy Central. After it was canceled last year, she hopped into a SNL slot. “The show’s a pessimist’s dream,” she says. “You write a scene, and then all week you’re sure it’s going to get cut.” Now that she’s on SNL, she wants to stay as long as possible, like a member of the Titanic band.

“Comedians get famous and they forget how to order their own coffee,” Poehler says. “What can you make jokes about–your assistant calling you too late?” But Hollywood already beckons: Poehler spent her summer vacation making Envy, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Ben Stiller; Poehler plays Jack Black’s wife. How will she maintain her edge? “I’m going to keep it real–every now and then, I go to the Bronx and enter a breakdancing contest.”

posted 17 September 2008 in Articles and tagged , , . 1 comment

One Comment Thus Far on Bonus Amy

  1. Chris M. Says:

    I believe Lorne Michaels now refers to Poehler as “our charm offensive,” which is pretty accurate, actually. They can throw her into most anything and, even fundamentally unfunny, you come out of it feeling affection toward the whole effort.

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