Amy Poehler is famous for her role as the quirky and passionate Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. Fans love her character and so does Poehler, who told Entertainment Weekly, “Getting to play Leslie Knope every day truly changed and, in some cases, kind of saved my life.” She continued, “I got to play a character who was so funny and played really big comedy as well as small and tender moments, and I spend most of the time revving people up and telling them how great they are.”
Poehler’s humor and heart for others make her similar to her character. However, there’s a lot more to Poehler than her time on Parks and Recreation. She’s not just an actress — she’s a mother, an outspoken feminist, and a boss lady. Keep reading to learn the untold truth of Amy Poehler and find out what she’s been working on since the end of Parks and Rec.
Amy Poehler was a new mom when Parks and Recreation started
Amy Poehler had just given birth to her oldest son, Archie, a few months before heading to Los Angeles to start filming Parks and Recreation. She admitted to NPR that it was challenging to be a working mom. She likened the start of the show to having a baby, saying, “I think I tortured myself a bit in that first year about what kind of mother I was and could I do this thing well and also give birth to this new show.”
Poehler doesn’t shy away from discussing her struggles, especially when they’re struggles that many women face, which makes her so relatable. She explained, “There’s this thing where nobody likes to talk about how difficult things are. … But it’s difficult to be away from your baby and to be working hard and also want to be working — and it’s difficult to be staying at home after you’ve been a person who maybe wasn’t.” Poehler is a great example of how vulnerability can be a strength.
Amy Poehler is a planner
Amy Poehler has played a few characters that are known for their Type A personalities, including Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope. Poehler’s Netflix film Wine Country featured her as Abby, the planner of her group of friends who organizes a girls’ trip for them. It turns out that this need to plan isn’t a fictional trait, as Poehler tends to plan in real life as well. She told NPR, “As my friends have told me, planning is my love language.”
In fact, Wine Country was inspired by a real girls’ trip that Poehler planned for her friends, and those famous friends appeared in the movie alongside her.
Planning has served Poehler well. She’s often working on multiple projects at once, as well as raising her kids. Clearly, she’s not afraid to be the boss. Poehler added, “I do have a little bit of a sense that if no one’s in charge, I’ll take over, because I need a captain; I do well with a captain.” It’s admirable that Poehler knows herself and isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done.
Amy Poehler was a waitress before she was an actress
Like many of us, Amy Poehler was once a waitress. During her time working in restaurants, she learned a lot about wine. While discussing her movie Wine Country, she told NPR, “I was a waitress for many, many years. And a lot of people learn about wine when they’re waiting tables.” However, Poehler’s wine knowledge wasn’t needed for the film. Poehler went on to say that the characters were more interested in chatting about their lives than learning about the wine they were drinking.
Unfortunately, Poehler’s time as a waitress wasn’t all positive. While speaking at a rally for the nonprofit One Fair Wage, which fights for fair pay for restaurant workers, she recalled her experience with harassment as a waitress. She explained, “Because relying on tips means we have to please our customers, we have to please our managers, we have to please our chefs. And all this expectation to please can put women in very vulnerable positions that often lead to exploitation.” Poehler isn’t in that position anymore, but she hasn’t lost compassion for those who are going through the same struggles she experienced.
Amy Poehler has produced some of your favorite projects
You might be surprised to learn that Amy Poehler does more than acting. She’s also a producer with Paper Kite production company. She told Glamour, “At Paper Kite we are moved by diverse voices and [stories about] the complex female experience.” No wonder her projects do so well — she is producing work that is unlike other media out there. Poehler is filling a need for more diversity and authenticity about what it’s like to be a woman. And it’s about time.
You can see how this passion has affected her work. Poehler produced the female-led Wine Country, as well as the Netflix film Moxie, which centers around a student who leads a feminist movement at her school. Poehler also produced and acted in Sisters with Tina Fey. And, in addition to playing Leslie on Parks and Recreation, Poehler worked as a producer on the show. She’s had a hand in producing Broad City, a comedy TV show about two female friends living in New York who have a habit of breaking social rules, as well as Difficult People and Russian Doll. And that’s just some of her credits.
With all this work under her belt, Leslie Knope has become an ultimate example of girl power.
Amy Poehler founded an online community to empower girls
Amy Poehler channeled her passion for helping others and empowering women into an online community called Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. She co-founded the community with fellow producer Meredith Walker, who also spent time working on Saturday Night Live. The website acts as a safe place for people to be themselves, and creativity, intelligence, and leadership are celebrated.
Poehler and Walker have created a digital series inspired by the community called Smart Girls at the Party. The video shorts aim to showcase girls who are, in Poehler’s words, “changing the world by being themselves.” The community also has service days and volunteer opportunities, such as cleaning up local communities around the country. The website for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Community is filled with stories of women who have positively impacted history. The community’s social media features inspiring quotes and profiles on girls who are making a difference, and those pages are definitely worth following.
Poehler clearly lives authentically and is on a mission to inspire others to live as their true selves as well.
Amy Poehler was inspired by her mother's feminism
If you know anything about Amy Poehler, then you know that she’s a feminist. It turns out that feminism runs in her family. She told The Guardian about her mother, saying, “She’s a very smart, independent woman who was kind of coming into her own in the feminist movement of the ’70s and ’80s.”
Her dad also had a role in her confidence. Poehler told The Hollywood Reporter about her dad, saying, “He didn’t do that thing that sometimes men do with their daughters, which is, be a nice girl. … he took me along to a lot of places and encouraged a version of breaking social protocol.” That lesson took hold, as it doesn’t appear like Poehler is afraid to break rules.
Poehler has continued that tradition of feminism for her sons, Archie and Abel. Poehler and her children supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, during her run for presidency. Poehler also tries hard to teach her sons to consider others. One way she does this is by encouraging them to give their birthday money to charity.
Amy Poehler's brother is also a comedian
Did you know that Amy Poehler isn’t the only Poehler in Hollywood? She has a brother who has also worked in showbiz. Greg Poehler is a comedian, writer, and actor. He first worked in law before making his first TV show, Welcome to Sweden. The show tells the story of a man who leaves his career as an accountant to follow his lover to Sweden. Amy got some screen time in the show, and she brought in some famous friends to act in it as well.
Amy told The New York Times about her brother, saying, “Greg has always been really funny. In our family you had to earn your place at the dinner table and be witty and able to take some good-natured teasing.” She went on to praise her brother’s ability to perform in front of people.
After Welcome to Sweden ended in 2015, Greg took a role in Amy’s film Wine Country. He’s also had a longstanding main role in the TV show You Me Her, which follows his character Jack as he navigates a love triangle.
Amy Poehler owns a wine store
Amy Poehler loves wine. She learned about it during her waitressing years, and her movie Wine Country was based in the Napa Valley. However, her passion for wine doesn’t stop there.
Poehler opened up a wine shop called Zula in 2018. According to Refinery29, she operates the store with her two partners, Mike Robertson and Amy Miles, who are both musicians. The partners met while filming Wet Hot American Summer. Zula is based in Brooklyn, and, if you’re in the area, you can even get free delivery.
If you get a little excited about that free delivery and overindulge, you can try Poehler’s hangover remedy. The Mean Girls actress told People, “I will say I’m not a big drinker these days, which means that I’m a lightweight and I can get hungover quite easily. I think I like some kind of pizza situation, and a sad TV show. Or like, watching the entirety of Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary. Just going for it.”
Tina Fey had to beg Amy Poehler to join Saturday Night Live
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are famous for being best friends and Saturday Night Live costars. They spent two years doing the show’s “Weekend Update” sketch together. But the SNL duo almost didn’t happen. Fey actually had to convince Poehler to join SNL. Crazy, right?
According to E! News, the pair met at an improv theater in Chicago. From there, they worked on their own improv show, “Women of Color,” together. After spending some time working for the same improv touring company, the friends worked on separate projects. Poehler worked in the New York improv group the Upright Citizens Brigade, while Fey soon joined SNL. Fey spent years asking Poehler to join her on the show, and finally Poehler accepted Fey’s offer.
Fey wrote about it in her book Bossypants (via E! News), saying, “I was so happy. Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here! My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.”
Amy Poehler started this show tradition while on Parks and Recreation
Mike Schur, the creator of Parks and Recreation, told The Hollywood Reporter about a tradition that Amy Poehler started for the show. Schur even named it after her, calling it “the Poehler.” After any time the show shot on location, the whole cast and crew would have dinner together. These dinners were frequent since the show shot on location often. During the dinner, Poehler would start by dedicating a toast to someone, and the toasting would go on and on until everyone had toasted someone else and had also been toasted themselves.
Schur loved it so much that he has continued the tradition on the other shows he has created. He described Poehler’s tradition, saying, “She’d pick out a second AD or a makeup person or a camera operator. It was just the most wonderful way to end a work experience.”
Poehler apparently has a way of noticing others and making everyone feel special.
Amy Poehler used to have a thick accent
Amy Poehler spent her childhood in Burlington, Mass., a suburban town that’s close to Boston. So naturally, Poehler had a Boston accent, but she didn’t realize it at first. She explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “I found out I had an accent when I went to [Boston College], which is not full of people from Boston. Every once in a while, it still comes out when I’m yelling or fighting.” She did a good job shedding her accent — it’s undetectable in her work.
Poehler put her Boston accent back on for the 2013 Golden Globes, which she hosted with Tina Fey. Referencing Ben Affleck’s film Argo, Fey quipped that Affleck chose to set it in Iran because it’s more welcoming than Boston, where his other two films were set. Poehler then jokingly said to him in a thick Boston accent, “You’re not better than me.” She may have gotten rid of her accent, but Poehler’s feisty attitude has stuck around.
These friends can make Amy Poehler break character
Amy Poehler revealed to Glamour that her friend and Saturday Night Live costar Rachel Dratch could make her break character. Dratch played the main character in the “Debbie Downer” sketches on the show. Poehler praised her friend’s work, saying, “That sketch can turn your day around if you watch it. It’s so funny.”
Jimmy Fallon, another SNL alum, can also get a smile out of Poehler. She has been a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon multiple times. The friends have played several games together on the show, and the two of them inevitably spend most of the time laughing, even when they’re trying to be serious. In a game of Truth or Truth (like Truth or Dare without the dares), Poehler looked at Fallon with squinted eyes and asked, “Where is someplace you’ve never had sex?” Fallon responded cooly, “In my 20s.” Both of them immediately started to giggle along with the rest of us. It’s clear that Poehler loves to laugh as much as her fans do.
Amy Poehler is not afraid of losing her fame
Amy Poehler is confident that she’d be okay without fame. She told The Guardian, “I think I always feel like if everything went to s***t, I would just teach improv at a theatre. I feel a healthy detachment from the idea of success and fame. If you feel like you have a skill, you feel: ‘OK, I’ll just go to another town — pack up my belongings and take my skill.'”
Poehler credits her blue-collar upbringing for teaching her to work hard. She explained her nonchalance about fame, saying that it’s due to “having to work all the time and just knowing that you’ll be working all the time.” She noted that it’s “also the combination of having a very long, slow, steady career that felt earned so then you didn’t feel you had to apologize for it.” Poehler’s loose grip on fame gives her the freedom to work on projects that she loves.
Amy Poehler is ready for a Parks and Recreation revival
When asked by Entertainment Weekly about playing Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope again, Amy Poehler said, “Mike Schur, our captain, is working on like, 50 shows right now but I have my suit ready. I’m Avengers-style ready to put it on at any time.” She’s just as excited as her fans about seeing more from the show.
However, Schur seems satisfied with leaving the show as it is. He said at the 2019 PaleyFest panel, “The show had an argument to make … about teamwork and friendship and positivity, being optimistic and not getting cynical and believing that people can do good … that if you work hard and you put your head down and believe in the people around you who are part of your team, that good things are possible.” He continued, “I feel like the show sort of made its argument.”
Even if Parks and Recreation doesn’t ever come back to TV, Poehler will likely continue to infuse the best parts of the show into her future projects.
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