Who Is Amy Poehler?
After graduating college, comedian and actress Amy Poehler moved to Chicago and joined the improv troupes Second City and the Upright Citizens' Brigade. Poehler's big break came when she was hired as a featured performer on Saturday Night Live. Poehler starred as Leslie Knope in the sitcom Parks and Recreation from 2009 to 2015. After 17 nominations, Poehler finally won her first Emmy in September 2016.
Early Years and Meeting Tina Fey
Born September 16, 1971, in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, Amy Poehler grew up in Burlington, Massachusetts. Her parents, Eileen and William Poehler, were both school teachers. At Boston College, Poehler became a member of the college's improvisational comedy troupe, My Mother's Fleabag.
After graduation, she moved to Chicago in 1993 to pursue a professional career in comedy, joining the comedy theaters ImprovOlympics and Second City, which have produced such famous alumni as Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Mike Myers and Tina Fey. Poehler and Fey, who would later appear as "Weekend Update" anchors together on Saturday Night Live (SNL), met each other through an improv group called Inside Vladimir, which someone had named after an adult video found at a local convenience store.
'Saturday Night Live'
Poehler joined another comedic troupe called the Upright Citizens' Brigade (UCB), a spin-off of ImprovOlympics. In 1996, she and her fellow comics moved UCB to New York City, where the troupe scored regular gigs on The Conan O'Brien Show and, later, a show of its own on Comedy Central in 1998. After a few years in New York, Poehler got her big break when she was hired as a featured performer on Saturday Night Live.
Poehler debuted on SNL in September 2001, appearing in the first show to air after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She played a horrified employee in a sketch where Will Ferrell shows up to the office in a patriotic thong. She was promoted from featured player to full cast member midway through her first season, becoming the first woman and only the third person ever (after Harry Shearer and Eddie Murphy) to do so. When Jimmy Fallon left the show in 2004, Poehler joined Tina Fey as a co-anchor of "Weekend Update."
Big Screen Roles & Marriage
Poehler and comedian Will Arnett married in 2003. The couple worked together in the series Arrested Development, playing a couple that accidentally gets married, and again in the 2007 film Blades of Glory, as an incestuous brother-sister figure skating team. "They commit so hard, and they'll do anything," Fey said of the couple. "They're both fantastic-looking people, but they don't care. They'll look goofy."
In 2004, Poehler starred in the film Mean Girls, written by Fey, playing the surgically-enhanced "cool mom" of Rachel McAdams, who is only seven years her junior in real life. In 2008, Poehler and Fey teamed up to star in Baby Mama, in which Poehler plays a surrogate mother carrying a child for an uptight Fey. The week the movie premiered, Poehler and Arnett announced that they were expecting their first child.
During her pregnancy, Poehler had one of her busiest years on SNL, portraying Hillary Clinton in a series of skits about the 2008 election. When John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, Poehler performed as Clinton alongside Fey's spot-on impression of Palin. When the real Palin appeared on the show, a nine-months-pregnant Poehler performed a gangster rap about the Alaska governor, who swayed to the beat beside Poehler.
Personal Life and Kids
Poehler gave birth to son Archie on October 25, 2008, fittingly, on a Saturday night. "Amy Poehler is not here tonight because she's having a baby," her "Weekend Update" co-anchor Seth Meyers announced on air. Poehler left SNL in December 2008 but returned immediately to television on the sitcom Parks and Recreation, playing Leslie Knope, an overly eager bureaucrat in a fictional Midwestern town. She also launched a Web series called Smart Girls at the Party, featuring interviews with "girls who are changing the world by being themselves."
Poehler and Arnett welcomed their second son, Abel, in 2010. She quipped about parenthood: "Always remember your kid's name. Always remember where you put your kid. Don't let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers ... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces."
After nine years together, Poehler and Arnett announced their plans to divorce in 2012. Their divorce was finalized in July 2016. Meanwhile, Poehler dated comedian Nick Kroll from 2013 to 2015.
'Parks and Recreation' and Golden Globes Hosting
Poehler became one of television's top comediennes with the success of Parks and Recreation, which aired from 2009 to 2015. For her work on the show, she received multiple Emmy nominations as an actress, writer and producer. In 2011, she landed on Time magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People." Poehler and Tina Fey also became a favorite comedy duo as regular hosts of the Golden Globes Awards, with the duo earning Emmy nods for their writing for the telecast. Poehler also won an acting Golden Globe for her role on Parks.
Poehler returned to film work in 2013, appearing with Parks and Recreation co-star Adam Scott in the comedy A.C.O.D. The following year, she served as executive producer of the comedy Welcome to Sweden with her brother Greg Poehler, though it was soon cancelled because of low ratings.
Poehler published her memoir, Yes Please, in 2014, and had a critical and box office hit voicing the character of Joy in Pixar's 2015 animated movie, Inside Out. In September 2016, after 17 nominations, Poehler finally won her first Emmy, sharing it with Tina Fey for their 2015 Christmas special on SNL, in which they reprised their popular impersonations of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
In March 2018, it was announced that Poehler would make her big screen directing debut in a feature for Netflix, tentatively titled Wine Country. Poehler was also scheduled to star in the film, alongside fellow SNL alumns Fey, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gastayer and Rachel Dratch. The movie was released in May 2019.
In early 2020 it was announced that Poehler and Fey will return to host the 2021 Golden Globes.
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