How ‘Parks and Recreation’ star became our favorite funny lady
Amy Poehler is clearly having some kind of moment. Besides her starring role as Leslie Knope on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” she scored big last month at the Golden Globe Awards, which she co-hosted with Tina Fey. Last weekend, her Best Buy commercial was one of the bright spots in the Super Bowl roundup of new ads. And now Poehler, 41, has signed a deal to write her first book, an “illustrated, nonlinear diary” containing “true stories, fictional anecdotes and life lessons.”
We spoke to Poehler’s collaborators on “Parks and Recreation” to find out why everyone loves Amy.
Nick Offerman - Ron Swanson, “Parks and Recreation”
“Amy is like a superhero archer with a quiver of specialized comedy arrows. She hits your bullseye every time, no matter which trick arrow she chooses. Keeping a straight face in the onslaught of Hurricane Amy is the hardest work I’ve ever accomplished — and I’ve poured concrete.”
Greg Daniels - Co-creator of “Parks and Recreation”
“I first met Amy probably in the late 1990s. I was put in touch with her because she helped create the Upright Citizens Brigade. She was very quick-witted. And someone that you wanted to work with. But you also sensed that she has a value system.
I directed the pilot of “Parks and Recreation.” There were so many good options on her takes that we jump-cut them together. She was doing 15 different improvs to get in Ron Swanson’s face to get him to do something for her.
She’s very knowing and she’s very kind. If there’s any bulls--t she’ll tease people. We had originally written her character as kind of deluded, but she’s very aware, very hip. By Season 2, the character had a lot more of her personality in it. I think about the episode where she was trying to get publicity for the zoo with a penguin wedding, but then the penguins were both gay, and she got into trouble with the community and she went to the clubs to get the support of the gay community. And you saw that this isn’t Amy doing Hillary Clinton. It’s what Amy Poehler would be like in small-town government.”
Michael Schur - Co-creator, “Parks and Recreation,” former writer, “Saturday Night Live”
“She’s a funnier and nicer person than anyone has a right to be. She was our first choice of someone to develop a show around.
By the time she came on ‘SNL,’ I had stopped writing and was producing Weekend Update with Jimmy [Fallon] and Tina [Fey].
She used to do an Avril Lavigne impersonation, saying, ‘I’m Avril Lavigne, and I’m angry.’ It made me laugh so hard, I set her flowers on behalf of the Weekend Update staff.
What’s great about her is she’s tough but she’s polite. People don’t see her and go, ‘Uh-oh.’
She’s the happiest when she’s with Rashida [Jones] or Nick [Offerman]. That really comes from the Second City Training. That goes a long the way in explaining how she holds the place she does. She’s never, ‘Me first.’ She’s never once complained, ‘There’s not enough lines in this script.’
Rashida Jones - Ann Perkins, “Parks and Recreation”
“Amy is like the best camp counselor ever: She sets the tone of the show, which is collaborative and playful. I know it sounds corny, but it’s just true.
My favorite scenes are when Amy gets to go off the cuff and be the virtuosic improviser that she is. When they do the jump cut scenes, it’s usually because she has done so many funny things with a scene that they want to be able to use it all.
Because we are so close, I demand that Amy give me advice. She’s really good at it. She always encourages me to stay present and true to myself. She is my life coach and my emotional midwife.”