Amy Poehler (born September 16, 1971) is an American actress, comedian, voice artist, director, producer and writer. She was raised in Burlington, Massachusetts, graduated from Boston College in 1993 and moved to Chicago, Illinois to study improv at The Second City and Improv Olympic. In 1996, she moved to New York City after becoming part of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, which later developed into an eponymous television show that aired on Comedy Central for three seasons. Poehler was also one of the founding members of theUpright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 1999. She is a 15-time Emmy Award nominee.
Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008. In 2004, she became the co-anchor of the Weekend Update sketch along with her friend and colleague Tina Fey. Poehler's work on SNL earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is known for voicing Bessie Higgenbottom in the 2008–11 Nickelodeon series, The Mighty B! and Eleanor Miller in the Alvin and the Chipmunks CGI films. Since 2009, she has starred as Leslie Knope in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which she has received five consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series, with one win in 2014.
Poehler is currently serving as an executive producer on the new Swedish-American sitcom Welcome to Sweden, along with her brother Greg Poehler. The series is currently being broadcast on NBC. She is also an executive producer on Broad City which airs on Comedy Central, and had previously appeared in the webseries finale.
Born in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, to high school teachers Eileen Frances (née Milmore) and William Grinstead Poehler, Poehler grew up in nearby Burlington. Her father is of German, Irish, Portuguese, and English ancestry, and her mother is of Irish descent. Poehler was raised in the Catholic faith. She graduated from Burlington High School in 1989.
While attending Boston College, Poehler was a member of America's oldest collegiate improv comedy troupe, My Mother's Fleabag. Poehler graduated from Boston College with a bachelor's degree in media and communications in 1993 and moved to Chicago, where she studied improvisational theatre at Second City, with friend and future co-star Tina Fey. Poehler also studied with Del Close at ImprovOlympic.
Her brother Greg Poehler is a producer and actor.
Upright Citizens Brigade
During her time at Second City and Improv Olympic in Chicago, Poehler studied under Del Close and Charna Halpern along with Matt Besser, where they were part of the original improv team called the Upright Citizens Brigade. While the group initially consisted of many members (including Horatio Sanz, Adam McKay, Rick Roman, and Neil Flynn), Poehler quickly became part of the group along with Matt Walsh. The two, along with Besser and Ian Roberts, performed sketch and improv around Chicago before moving to New York City in 1996. Immediately after moving to New York, the group quickly scored a TV gig, appearing as sketch regulars on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
In 1998, Comedy Central debuted the group's eponymous half-hour sketch comedy series. During the show's second season, the group opened an improv theatre/training center in New York City at 161 W. 22nd Street, occupying the space of a former strip club. The UCB theatre held shows seven nights a week in addition to offering classes in sketch comedy writing and improv. In the summer of 2000, Comedy Central canceled the Upright Citizens Brigade program after its third season, though the UCB Theatre continues to operate. The foursome continue to work together in many projects, and frequently perform together in live improv shows at their comedy theatres in both New York and Los Angeles.
Saturday Night Live
Poehler joined the cast of SNL during the 2001–02 season, her debut episode being the first one produced after the 9/11 attacks – with host Reese Witherspoon, musical guest Alicia Keys, and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a special guest. Poehler was promoted from featured player to full cast member in her first season on the show, making her only the third person to have earned this distinction (after Harry Shearer and Eddie Murphy).
Beginning with the 2004–05 season, she co-anchored "Weekend Update" with Tina Fey, replacing the newly departed Jimmy Fallon. In a TV Guide interview, Fey said that with Poehler co-anchoring, there now is "double the sexual tension". When Fey left after the 2005–06 season to devote time to the sitcom she created, 30 Rock, Seth Meyers joined Poehler at the anchor desk. In 2008, Poehler was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, the first SNL cast member recognized in this category. She was heavily favored to win by many critics, but ultimately lost to Jean Smart of Samantha Who?. She was nominated once again in 2009, but lost to Kristin Chenoweth of Pushing Daisies. On September 13, 2008, the SNL season premiere opened with Fey and Poehler as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, respectively, performing a "joint political campaign spot".
It was officially announced on September 16, 2008, that Poehler would be leaving SNL in October due to the birth of her child. On the October 25, 2008 episode, it was announced by "Weekend Update" co-anchor Seth Meyers, who anchored the segment alone, "Amy Poehler is not here because she is having a baby", to wild applause from the audience. At the end of "Weekend Update", special guest Maya Rudolph and current cast member Kenan Thompson sang a custom rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" for Poehler, changing the words: "We love you Amy, and we just can't wait to meet your baby!" Meyers signed off: "For Weekend Update, I'm Seth Meyers — we love you Amy!"
Poehler returned to the show on November 3, 2008, during the "SNL Presidential Bash '08", "hosting" as Hillary Clinton. The Bash was pre-taped from scenes shot between September and October. Her return to SNL after her pregnancy was on December 6, 2008, where she stayed for two weeks. During "Weekend Update", on December 13, she thanked her family, friends, and fans for the continued support and announced that it would be her last show. On April 18, 2009, a Saturday Night Live special, "The Best of Amy Poehler", aired. Poehler returned for "Weekend Update" (signing off with "...and he's Seth Meyers") and joined the "chorus" for Will Ferrell's "Goodnight Saigon" (along with the SNL cast and Tom Hanks, Maya Rudolph, Norm Macdonald, Paul Rudd, Artie Lange, Anne Hathaway, and Green Day) on the SNL season finale on May 16, 2009.
Poehler returned to the "Weekend Update" desk in the fall of 2009 with Meyers, for two "WU" Thursday episodes, which led directly into Parks and Recreation. She also returned to Saturday Night Live for a special Mother's Day episode on May 8, 2010, hosted by Betty White.
Poehler returned to Saturday Night Live on September 25, 2010, to host the Season 36 opening episode with performer Katy Perry. She returned once again for theSaturday Night Live special, "The Women of SNL". The special aired on November 1, 2010. Between the time she left and the time she hosted, she also returned several times to join Seth Meyers in their "Really!?! With Seth and Amy" segment on Weekend Update. The "Really!?!" segment has aired since with Meyers speaking doing the segment alone, although he was once accompanied by special guest Kermit the Frog and another time, with guest host Kevin Hart. Poehler appeared as a guest in the December 18, 2011 Jimmy-Fallon-hosted episode, starring in the opening sketch and a Weekend Update joke-off with Fallon, Meyers, and Tina Fey. She appeared once again on the February 18, 2012 Maya Rudolph-hosted episode, reprising her role as Betty Caruso in the Bronx Beat sketch (with co-host Maya Rudolph), co-anchoring Weekend Update as well as a segment of "Really!?! With Seth and Amy", and appearing briefly as Hillary Clinton at the end of the "The Obama Show" sketch.
Parks and Recreation
In July 2008, Variety reported that Poehler was in final negotiations to star in a series by writers Greg Daniels and Mike Schur, set to air on Thursdays before The Office, starting January 2009 on NBC. On July 21, 2008, NBC officially announced Poehler's new series, Parks and Recreation, saying the project would not be a direct spin-off of The Office, as previously speculated.
Poehler joined an ensemble cast including Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Paul Schneider, Nick Offerman, and at the end of the second season, Adam Scott, and Rob Lowe. Poehler plays Deputy Director of the Parks Department, Leslie Knope, in the fictional city of Pawnee, Indiana. After a poorly regarded first season, the show's second,third, fourth and fifth have been well received by critics, and Poehler received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her role. Poehler was featured in The Advocate for her role in the show.
Poehler has written three episodes of the series, the first being "Telethon" in season 2, which was the episode Poehler sent in as her Emmy Award submission in 2010. The second one is the episode entitled "The Fight", which aired on May 12, 2011. She both wrote and directed the 4th season episode "The Debate", for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Comedy.
Poehler was again nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy in 2011. She sent the episode "Flu Season" as her submission, but lost to Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly. She was nominated an additional two times in 2012, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy (having submitted the episode "Win, Lose, or Draw"), as well as Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for "The Debate". She lost the former to Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep, and the latter to Louis C.K. of Louie. She was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy in 2013. In 2014, she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy at the 71st Golden Globe Awards, which she co-hosted with Tina Fey.
Film career and other work
Poehler has appeared in the films Wet Hot American Summer, Mean Girls, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Blades of Glory, Envy, Shrek the Third, Mr. Woodcock, and Hamlet 2. In 2008, she began producing a digital series with two of her friends, Meredith Walker and Amy Miles, Smart Girls at the Party, available through ON Networks. The show is focused on interviews with young women who are "changing the world by being themselves". The first season of Smart Girls at the Party premiered online November 17, 2008, with Mattel's Barbie signed on as the lead sponsor. Smart Girls at the Party is returning to production in 2012 as part of Google's YouTube Original Channel Initiative initiative to create new content. The new Smart Girls at the Party YouTube Channel went live on July 2, 2012, including new episodes of Smart Girls at the Party along with additional shows by Poehler, Walker, and Miles.
She appeared in various comedy segments on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, often playing her recurring role as Andy Richter's little sister Stacy, and as a recurring character in two episodes of the college dramedy Undeclared. She appears in the film Southland Tales, which premiered on May 21, 2006, at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. In 2008, she appeared in Horton Hears a Who!, Hamlet 2, Baby Mama, and Spring Breakdown. She has also co-created an animated series for Nickelodeon called The Mighty B!, about Bessie Higgenbottom, a "sweet, merit-badge-obsessed girl scout", to which she lends her vocal talents. In 2009, Poehler earned aDaytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program.
In 2011, Poehler was included on TIME's "100 most influential people in the world". She also delivered the Class Day address to Harvard University's class of 2011.
Poehler wrote a book called Yes Please, published on October 28, 2014.
Poehler dated Matt Besser in the 1990s. She married actor Will Arnett on August 29, 2003, and had a recurring role on the series Arrested Development as the wife of Arnett's character Gob Bluth. They also played a quasi-incestuous brother–sister ice skating team in the 2007 film Blades of Glory, and appeared together inHorton Hears a Who!, On Broadway, Spring Breakdown, and Monsters vs. Aliens, along with Arnett having a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation; both did voice acting in The Secret World of Arrietty.
On October 25, 2008, Poehler gave birth to her first child, Archibald William "Archie" Emerson Arnett, just hours before a Saturday Night Live telecast. She gave birth to her second son, Abel James Arnett, on August 6, 2010.
In September 2012, Poehler and Arnett announced that they were ending their nine-year marriage. In 2013, Poehler began dating actor and comedian Nick Kroll, whom she references numerous times in her memoir Yes Please.