Amy Poehler might not have walked away with an Emmy last night for supporting actress from her work on Saturday Night Live, but she still will get an hourlong look into her comedy career tonight on Bravo, thanks to James Lipton and Inside the Actor's Studio. It's also coincidentally (or not at all coincidentally) the start of new seasons of both SNL and Poehler's sitcom, Parks and Recreation. The preview clips indicate that Poehler is serious about her comedy, and is seriously funny.
Here we re-learn that Poehler joined the cast of SNL coming out of her work with the Upright Citizens Brigade, and also how much she praises Lorne Michaels. "I adore him, personally and professionally. He's a tremendous producer. He gives you rope at that show, and you can either use it to climb, or you can hang yourself with it. I don't think I'll ever really work for a better boss."
Poehler also talked about joining SNL and wondering if she really belonged at first. It's not an uncommon phenomenon for anyone running in an elite circle. No matter how talented or deserving you are, when you first get accepted inside the circle, you think, how did I get here? We all know how great Poehler is now, of course, but in the beginning, she said she felt she had to act as if she deserved to be at SNL. I wonder if that's part of the secret to surviving at that place.
This part is not so secret. In ensemble improv, you're going to live and die onstage with your mates, and there's a vulnerability to it. "It's only in the eyes of your partner, that you'll feel any safety," she says. So what makes for a good improviser in those moments? "A good improviser never bails, and never comments. They commit." Roll the clip!
Speaking of which, how did Poehler and Tina Fey get the name for their mid-1990s Chicago improv group, Inside Vladimir? Bonus clip! Speaking of which, Poehler also explains learning to ice skate for a movie role, and not enjoying it. Nor does she consider herself great at impersonations, although that does not stop Lipton from indulging him. And despite grumblings from old and new media alike about this year's cast changes at SNL and what they mean for ladies, Poehler maintains that Michaels and the show have been a boon for female comedians, now and for more than a generation.
If you want to know more about Poehler's role in creating and shaping NBC's Parks and Recreation, here you go with one more clip: