Hey Amy, I’m a huge fan of your work. I was curious as to how much involvement you still have with UCB? Also, my wife wanted to mention that you are her hero and she loves Smart Girls at the Party.
Oh THANK YOU!
To your wife, and you.
I still perform at UCB in New York & LA whenever I can, and just this weekend, we are celebrating opening our new space in Los Angeles, so I see those guys all the time and it was fun to write about our experiences in the book.
In season 2 you not only landed the Emmy nom but absolutely killed it and got me hooked on the show. My question to you is when Chris Pratt actually flashed you when he mistakenly thought Anne wanted him back, what was going through your head? And how hilarious was it to rewatch your own reaction?
It was priceless on my end.
It was really fun... that was early on in the show, I just remember laughing, just like I do at everything Chris Pratt does. He's genius.
Amy Poehler! I may like you more than Lil Sebastian. THANKS for doing this AMA.
First, congrats on the release of your book. I can't wait to read it. It better be good. I will bill you for every yawn.
A few questions:
You've become a wonderful role model for women and girls across the globe. What inspired you to create Smart Girls at the Party and then subsequently Amy's Smart Girls? Do you have plans to expand or grow this online oasis?
Your character Leslie Knope is so refreshing. It's so kickass to see a lead female role that is super smart, funny, and driven. Knope really deconstructs a lot of sexist, oppressive female stereotypes. How much involvement did you play in the creation and development of her character, and would you say she is reflective of you?
1) Yes! First of all, rest in peace, Lil Sebastian, he will always be in our hearts and minds.
And Smart Girls is growing by the minute, we are getting ready to launch new programming in the next few months under the Legendary Umbrella! And I started Smart Girls just with the small idea of creating a show, a fun show that started with a dance party and celebrated young people being themselves, and it's grown into a bigger idea, and hopefully, kind of, you know, in its own way, a tiny movement.
I was able to collaborate with the creator Mike a lot, and we really worked together in many ways to make Leslie who she was, and because there's such good writing on the show that she becomes such a great character.
And she's like me, but she works... we're like each other, I should say, but I think I'm - I don't think I'm as, I think I've become a little bit more cynical than her. I think she reminds me to keep an open mind and to go big or go home.
Hello Amy, love your work!
Who is most like and who is least like their character on P & R off screen? (including yourself and people no longer on the show)
Well, uh, let's see. I think there's a little bit of everybody in their characters, but we aren't all annoyed by Jim O'Hare. So when the character of Jerry comes around, we all can't wait for him to get out of there, but when Jim goes around, we only want him to stay. But Joan Calamezzo, the character, is based on Moe Collin's life. JUST KIDDING!!!
What's your favorite animal?
Uh... polar bear, of COURSE! Hahah!
You strike me as a genuinely nice person. Are you actually, or is it all just a facade?
THANKS TERATTT! I'm glad you think that. Mind your business. And get out of my head...
What is your favorite curse word?
Mmmmm.... uhmmmm... let's see. Probably just your usuals. But I don't think it's so much the word as it is the volume and intent.
Who really encouraged you to start your acting career? And what is it like knowing the impact you have as a comedian on peoples lives?
Well, I was encouraged by so many people (and continue to be encouraged by so many people). In the beginning of my career, there was a woman named Charna Halpern, she ran the I.O. Theater in Chicago, and was one of my first, you know, patrons and teachers. And I studied with her and Del Close, and learned how to improvise, and then I basically was supported by and encouraged by all the great and talented people I got to improvise with.
I try not to think about that, because it feels overwhelming. And I just try to do my thing, and it's really really nice to hear you say that, and I thank you, but that is the kind of thing that will give me night terrors if I allow it.
Who's your favorite superhero?
Um... you know, I like Superman because I always bought that he always wanted Lois Lane, I liked the chemistry between them. I just thought he seemed like, very, I like that Superman spent a LOT of time being into Lois Lane.
How do I avoid becoming depressed after Parks and Recration is over?
Get some sunlight, go for a brisk walk, take your Vitamin D, call a friend, make sure you change out of your pajamas at some point in the day.
Roughly how many clones of you do you think it would take to beat 1 Nick Offerman in a fist fight?
First of all, this person assumes that I would fight Nick Offerman in a physical way. They are wrong. I would destroy him mentally.
I would get into that complex, wood-covered mind of his, and rip him to Shreds. And if this is Nick Offerman - nice try, buddy!
I'm coming for you!
You can pull off an pretty incredible number of looks.
If you had to pick one character you’ve played to live as for the rest of your life, who would you choose?
That's a good one.
Um... maybe...whew... who would I? You know, I think, one time I had to play some, some foolish writer cast me as Penelope Cruz, even though she and I have very little in common. I would like to say I wouldn't mind staying as Penelope Cruz and I think America would agree.
What kind of kid were you going up? Were you the class clown? Were you ever shy?
I wasn't the class clown. I was a student who liked school and did a lot of activities, and I kind of floated around. I wasn't very shy, but I didn't really think I would be a performer, and didn't know anyone who was an actor or writer. I was a very kind of typical kid who liked to work hard and have a good time. But I don't think you would've necessarily pointed to me and said "Darn right."
My writing partner/best friend and I are writing a road trip karaoke movie. What is your go to karaoke song?
Um...my go-to karaoke song is "We didn't start the fire" by Billy Joel. Sung in Spanish. And in a very high key.
If you were a Game of Thrones character who would you end up sleeping with and how would you end up dying?
If I was a character, I would sleep with everyone, but let's be real, the Dothraki are where it's at. And I would never die! I would just do some kind of weird, you know, witch thing that couldn't be killed!
What is your favorite SNL sketch of all-time?
Oh, that's too hard to choose. There are SO many. There's ones that I loved growing up, like "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" with Phil Hartman, and the "Sweeney Sisters," and then there were ones that I got to do, and then there are ones I see right now... so I'm gonna say, I loved "Debbie Downer" the first one, just because it was so hilarious, and then as far as a recent one that i loved, I'm gonna say... I just loved last week when Kate McKinnon danced with Jim Carrey. The sketches are always - just when you think you've seen your favorite one, then another one comes along.
What has been your oddest fan encounter?
Oh, I usually have very nice, polite fans. I don't have anything too weird. And I don't want to tell you, because I don't want to give any weirdos any ideas.
You are just amazing and so hilarious! I just adore Parks & Recreation and your character. You do facial expressions like no other. Does playing such a hyper character take a lot out of you? Do you need mass amounts of caffeine?
PS: Your angry face speaks to me!
I love playing Leslie Knope, but she says SO many words, and she does talk so much, that sometimes I think my mouth is gonna break. But she does do a lot of talking. I would love for somebody on the internet to figure out how many words Leslie Knope has actually said.
Someone on the internet can do that, right?
"Baby Mamma" is one of the all time greats in my opinion, my wife and I love it! How hard was it to keep a straight face while shooting the scenes with Steve Martin?
Oh, it's really really hard, because he's a genius and I grew up listening to his records, and it was really fun to get to work with him. And he's wearing a ridiculous ponytail. I'm always onboard for it.
First, of all I'm a massive fan, you're the funniest person on earth. Your appearance(s) on Comedy Bang Bang's freestyle rap contests are things of incredible notoriety, in a good way.
How do you feel freestyle rapping has shaped your career overall?
Also, is working with Adam Scott as incredible as it sounds?
Well, you know, look - do I think I'm the best in the game? No.
But do I think I'm one of the best? Absolutely.
Do I consider myself better than Nas? Totally.
Am I a better MC than Jay-Z? We.Shall.See.
At the end of the day, I'm just... trying to keep it real. From the heart, and spit like a master.
Yes, Adam Scott is a great actor, he's a great kisser, has a GREAT head of hair, and if this is Adam Scott - I'm onto you, stop fishing for compliments!
I feel stupid writing this, but here we go. I'm at work so I had to sneak into the bathroom to write this. It isn't really a question, I guess, but I had to reach out someway (and as far as I know you don't use any social media). I had to say thank you. I was very depressed this past winter. Stuck in a small town full of idiots, no idea where I wanted my life to go and more than anything just feeling alone and like a failure. Then I discovered Parks and Rec. You, the the cast and writers, fully turned my year around--maybe my life. I still live in this crummy town, and I still feel lonely sometimes, but I don't feel hopeless. I value what I have and have learned to look for opportunity and take chances. The laughs and tears (not just from the laughing, corny enough as that is to admit) have had a profound effect on me and I couldn't be more thankful. I wish the show could go on for forever, but it can't so I'll instead fill that void by introducing friends to what I view as the greatest tv comedy ever. And just since this is an ama, I'll just ask what your favorite kind of waffles are? :P
Okay, who cares about waffles?
What a beautiful post.
Thank you for sharing that with me. That was really nice. and you sound like the kind of person that will find a lot of love and happiness in your life. Because you're not afraid to be vulnerable, and you've gotten stronger in tough times.
I love the image of you huddled in the bathroom. We've all been there. I can't wait to see - I wish I could see what happens in the next 10 years. I can tell you're a special person with lots of good things ahead.
What is the most rewarding piece of advice you have been given during your life?
Um: hmm. Well, that's a good one. Maybe " Pay attention to what people do, not what they say."
Hey Amy, How do you relax, or what is your source of energy when you're having a stressful day?
Haha! Um... I relax by running marathons. And I get my energy by base jumping.
Hi Amy, my girlfriend teaches and Reddit is blocked at her school, but she wanted me to ask you:
What was your inspiration for "Ask Amy"?
Does your love for Harry Potter mirror Leslie's?
"Does Adam Scott smell as good as I think he smells?"
1) Oh!! Just the idea of connecting with some people, and just answering letters and questions that come in to us. Simple as that.
2) Ha! Well, in very exciting news, there was a moment of time where Daniel Radcliffe and I were in the same building. And I am a HUGE fan of his work, and I think he's an awesome actor. That being said, unlike Leslie, I have never read the books! I have 2 young sons and I am looking forward to doing that with them soon.
3) Adam Scott smells like... lemons and possibility. Future and peppermint. Loyalty and vanilla ice cream.
Hi Amy! You really do have a great face for wigs.
What's your favorite breakfast food and why is it pancakes?
Thank you, Saficus!
I can tell from this question that you have a great face too. My favorite breakfast food... Oooh, you know what, I don't want to hate on pancakes. All breakfast food welcome!
Is there a celebrity or public figure that you have a borderline obsession with like Leslie has for Joe Biden? Someone that would cause you to legitimately freak out, if you ever met them in person.
Um... I kind of - I met Tilda Swinton a few years ago, and I grabbed her a little too tightly. There's lots of people who I am very excited to meet, and they are often not famous. But as far as - yeah. Let's say Tilda Swinton was an exciting one, I'm a big fan of hers. And I still get excited by meeting a lot of people.
If you were to appear on Comedy Central's Drunk History, what historical person would you talk about?
Oh, I guess, I feel I don't know anyone's history well enough, but I would pick... maybe a suffragette who liked to party?
Hi Amy! I am going out to buy your book tonight and I can't wait to read it! What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
They were all fun for different reasons. Sometimes when writing the history of UCB< or the times at SNL were fun, because they reminded me of all those stories, and I would start laughing thinking of all the ridiculous people I surrounded myself with. I was just texting with Fred Armisen, and telling him that i wrote nice things about him int he book, and he was very touched, and then I reminded him that his lawyers made me do it, and I said "His lawyers will sue you if you don't write nice things about him in your book."
What's your favorite movie?
Oh! Well, I don't know if I can pick just one, but "The Jerk."
Let's see... "The Jerk."
Hi Amy big fan of Parks and Rec, what is the funniest thing to happen on the set?
We have so many funny times on set, we do a LOT of goofing around, it's loose and goofy, and one of the most fun things was - we do this thing where we all forget our lines... oh wait, that's just us forgetting our lines. No wait!
Why is Oren always like that???
You're asking me?
I want April to get away from him!!!
If you could be cast as a superhero in the Marvel universe, who would it be?
Let someone else decide that.
What is your favourite tv show?
Well, growing up, I loved "All in the Family" and I loved "CHEERS." I also loved "The Wire" and "Law & Order." There are SO many good current television shows happening too! I love "Broad City"! And I could watch "Judge Judy" every day, all day and all night, don't stop won't stop.
HI AMY, I have to say I absolutely love you and have been waiting for this ama all day. My question to you is, is there a chance we'll get to see you on the big screen anytime soon?
We just finished a movie called "The Nest" that is coming out next year! And I'm also doing a voice in the new Pixar movie "Inside Out" which is coming out in June, and it's a great film, can't wait for people to see it. And catch me as a dungeonmaster in "50 Shades of Grey!" You can't tell it's me cuz I'm wearing a mask!
What pickup line is guaranteed to work on you every time?
"Are you tired? You should leave this party and go to sleep."
Oh, you're right! Thanks! Bye!
Do you like or love Orange Tic Tacs?
I'm indifferent about that question and those tic-tacs.
And I'm sorry if that causes a stir.
But how do you REALLY feel about the state of Indiana?
I LOVE it! I used to live in Chicago, and did touring through Indiana when I was in Second City, and it's a beautiful state filled with fine people who work hard and love their children!
How was recording the audiobook different from writing? What was the best part of the process?
Well, it was really fun, and a lot of special guests come and join me. Sir Patrick Stewart read some things for me, and I'm a fan of his work and of his voice. Kathleen Turner came in and read sentences from some of my darker periods. Carol Burnett joined me in the booth for a minute, as did Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, and my parents. And Lady Gaga was also there, but she also didn't say anything!
Hey Amy! Who was your favorite guest star on parks?
Oh, we had so many good ones!!!
We had surprise ones that we can't believe we got, like Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Ginuwine. We had great comedy people, like Louis CK... and Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas... anytime a UCB person comes by, it's always great. We've had so many good guest stars come by, it's an embarrassment of riches.
What's your favorite dinosaur?
Oh! Pterodactyl. Because the P is silent. And my kids - that's the punch line to one of my kids' favorite jokes.
What is your favorite condiment?
I enjoy cocktail sauce. And I get angry when restaurants serve oysters without it. And all you chefs out there reading this reddit, because I KNOW you're in the kitchen prepping somebody's meal and also reading this reddit - don't try and pull any bullshit with me and say you can't make cocktails sauce, cuz I'm onto you!
Hello Amy, I love your work! If you had to, which would you choose, a necklace made of grapes or onion shoes? Have a wonderful day
A necklace made out of grapes or shoes made out of onions? Oh, I'm gonna have to go with the grapes. Is this some kind of personality test to find out if I'm a sociopath? Who would pick shoes made out of onions? Somebody who's angry at their mom.
What is your favorite color? :) Huge fan by the way!
Why haven't you played Batman yet?
Cuz I don't want to win ALL the awards, it would be unfair!
Hi Amy, you're IMDB profile mentions you have three nicknames apparently: Cool Cat Amy, Crazy Amy, and Poehlercoaster. What can I call you?
None! That's bad intel!
Hey mizz Poehler! Very happy to have this opportunity. Has your role on Parks and Rec changed the way you view your own local politicians now? I love the jabs that your show and character take at local government.
I respect people who go into public service. I love people who are open to the possibility of change. I realized myself that i could never go into politics cuz the lighting is too bad.
What advice would you give to a lovely girl who also happens to be a huge fan and is turning 18 today (A.K.A me)??
Oh! Happy 18th birthday! Exercise your right to vote! Whatever you feel drunk, stop, because 18 year olds have a hard time figuring out how much they can drink. Be with a good friend who can make sure you get home safe, and try one new thing on your birthday every year.
What everyone is actually wondering is... when is your rap album dropping out? ;)
Thank you for asking.
It already dropped. And by "dropped" I mean "the label dropped it and somebody needs to pick it up and make it."
But I got a lot of underground cassette tapes floating around. And any artist will tell you that's where the real shit is.
Amy, How do you treat yo self?
Fine leather goods.
What is your personal theme song?
Um... hahaha... maybe... "Jump" by Van Halen.
You've had a long day and no time to cook.. What's your go-to meal?
Oh! Well right now I'm eating tortilla chips and salsa while I do this. And I've had a long day, and no time to cook. So life imitates art, reddit.
Hi Amy, first of all I LOVE YOU! Two: I'm so fucking ready to read your book. And third: I love what you do with Smart Girls, I've seen all the videos and I wish I could have that kind of advice when I was about 12 years old. I thought I wanted to do a funny question or something but actually I want to know if there's a way we could reproduce what you do in Smart Girls but in Chile and in spanish so we can spread the smarty word in our language? Do you think it would be a good idea? Kisses from Chile!
Awww! Thank you Chile! I love you! And so does Horatio Sanz, who's from Chile! that's a great question, and yes, as we move forward with new content at Smart Girls, we are excited about opening up in an international way and providing content for all over the world. I love that you care enough to ask that, and I hope to be providing more content for you very soon. Rapido!
Hi Amy, love your work!
Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized Aziz Ansaris or 1 Aziz Ansari-sized duck?
Edit: Turns out I overestimated Aziz's height when formulating this question...
Now... one would think that it's Aziz Ansari typing this.
But I'm smart enough to know it's Nick Offerman, who is trying to come at me, through this message.
Haha, Nick. Good one. I'll see you on the battlefield, where i will destroy you with my mental acuity.
Until then, to all those on the internet I say, Live long and prosper!