As Amy Poehler settled into her seat for her conversation with Caryn James in Kaufman Concert Hall and her fans screamed shrilly in ecstasy on Friday night, one of the few young men in the crowd raised his hands in a heart shape.
Ms. Poehler hearted him back.
The producer, writer and star of NBC’s Parks and Recreation praised and teased her friends and colleagues, reminisced about her different gigs and doled out advice, all peppered with her trademark humor.
About Tina Fey: “Tina has the most terrible singing voice…Yeah, I call her Betty. I think I’m the only one [to call her Betty]. I better be. I’m one of her many lovers.”
About her early years in comedy: “We were all so skinny and young,” she said, half wistful and half laughing. “When you’re young, you’re supposed to take big risks. That’s when you’re supposed to take them, because we don’t have kids, and we don’t have a mortgage, and we don’t have a lot of regret. Yet.”
About beginning at Saturday Night Live: “I started in September 2001, so it was this whole thing of, ‘Is comedy dead? Can we ever laugh again?” she said, allowing the room to sober momentarily in remembrance before breaking up the mood. “It was like, ‘Uh, how about yes?’”
About her infamous skit with Hillary Clinton: “I was pregnant at the time and I hadn’t told anybody that I was afraid I was going to throw up…but it was great. It’s always weird standing next to someone that you’re dressed like.”
Parks and Recreation fans will know that the sketch with Ms. Clinton wasn’t Ms. Poehler’s only foray into political comedy. (Spoiler alert: season 4 ended with her character Leslie Knope winning a city council seat in Pawnee.) When asked about her own perspective in politics, however, Ms. Poehler remained iffy.
“When people say, ‘Would you ever go into politics?’ I’m like, ‘No, the lighting is so bad,’ and two, I’m so lazy,” she said. “If I was in a presidential campaign my slogan would be ‘Well, hold on.’ I don’t know what that means, but I’d say that a lot.”
Ms. Poehler, who in a few weeks’ time will be filming the romantic comedy They Came Together with Paul Rudd and David Wain in New York City, continually emphasized how lucky she felt. “It’s a dream,” she repeated, in talking about Parks and Recreation and working with other skilled comedians and good scripts.
The night was certainly was a dream come true for Ms. Poehler’s fans.
“I wrote you a love letter,” said one girl as the crowd hooted and catcalled. “Can I read it to you?”
“Oh, yeah,” Ms. Poehler said, leaning forward. “Give it to me later but just read the first sentence.”
Even the questions submitted to Tumblr (or, as Ms. Poehler referred to it, “a 21-year-old Asian girl’s bedroom”) joined in on the love. Asked a certain “Kevin”: “What’s the easiest way to make Will Arnett cry?”
Ms. Poehler blinked. “Make love to him.”
From a user named “Talkdirtytoanimals”: “What’s your favorite song to make out to?”
“Oh, you know what’s my jam right now? That Usher song, ‘Climax’?” She nodded. “That song is sexy.”
And when she was younger?
“When I was a kid, there was not a lot of making out. But it probably was something very earnest, like ‘Open Arms’ by Journey. That was a good one.”
Sexy songs aside, Ms. Poehler took a moment to reflect on how her career has moved forward.
“You think something’s done, it’s the last chapter, and nothing will ever be as satisfactory,” she said when asked about how it felt leaving SNL. “But [Parks and Recreation is] something so satisfying, with a cast I’d take a bullet for and have sex with at the same time.”
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