Book Review: Poehler tells tales of titillating times

Michael Saakyan
Book Editor

She was a cool mom, not a regular mom, in 2004’s “Mean Girls,” she has hosted the Golden Globes with fellow “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tina Fey and is finishing up the final season as the ambitious and optimistic former council woman of Pawnee Leslie Knope on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

Now she adds author to her list of accomplishments.

Calling her new book a memoir would be understating it and calling it a tell-all would be over-doing it, yet she does tell it like it is about her personal and professional life.

“Yes Please” explores Amy Poehler’s life from her childhood to being cast on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” to motherhood and divorce.

Layout 1Filled with personal photographs and behind the scenes footage Poehler allows the reader into her private life as she shares intimate details.

“Yes Please” is divided into three parts, “Say Whatever You Want,” “Do Whatever You Like” and “Be Whoever You Are.”

Partner in crime
Once when Poehler had to renew her driver’s license at the DMV, an African-American woman approached her and asked her to do her Sarah Palin impression. She obviously mistook Poehler for Tina Fey.

“She was confused and perhaps racist,” Poehler jokes in her book. “But it only made me happy.”

Poehler and Fey have been friends for over 20 years since they first met at an improv class.

Becoming quick friends, the pair has been known as a comedy duo after becoming the first all female anchors for Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live.”

The two later went on to make films together like 2008’s “Baby Mama” and hosting the Golden Globes for two consecutive years.

Poehler says Fey is the one person in the world who understands the very specific things she deals with when it comes to being a comedian.

Poehler describes a time the two were sitting in their first class on an airplane together with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Ana Gasteyer as they were headed to film “Mean Girls.” The three were chatting and laughing throughout the entire plane ride when a snooty uptight businessman began to get irate around them. Using loud sighs to indicate his irritation toward the three women making noise did nothing for the “Saturday Night Live” comedians.

After the flight, the snobbish man elbowed Poehler as she was attending to her luggage.

“You shouldn’t be in first class,” the man yelled at the woman to which Poehler describes her Boston upbringing came out and she unleashed a whirlwind of profanities and comebacks.

Fey stood there laughing with a look of terror on her face.

The birth of Leslie Knope
After the success of the American version of “The Office,” producers Mike Schur and Greg Daniels created a new series about an extremely low-level Parks and Recreation Department employee who had big dreams.

Inspired by President Obama’s “Yes We Can” spirit the character of Leslie Knope was born.

Having worked with her at “Saturday Night Live” Schur knew the only actor to bring Leslie Knope to life would be Poehler.

NBC made a deal with Daniels for a new series and ordered 13 episodes right off the bat.

“Most shows start by making a pilot episode,” Poehler writes. “When the pilot is done, a group of mysterious people gather in a room and weigh its merits, consult various oracles, and then send white papal smoke out of the holy chimney when it is decided it will become a series.”

Being ordered straight to series was great news for the crew and on top of that the pilot episode was set to air after the Super Bowl, television’s most coveted spot for ratings.

Then much to everyone’s surprise Poehler found out she was pregnant with her first child and filming was set on hold.

Unlike other comedy shows it would be difficult to hide Poehler’s pregnancy while filming.

Daniels and Schur decided they either have Poehler or nothing and delayed filming until after she had the baby.

Finally the first season was filmed but was met with mixed reviews.

“Our ratings were okay but not great,” Poehler writes. “’Deadline Hollywood’ decided to publish our pilot testing results, which was basically like having someone publish the worst parts of your diary.”

As the series continued Daniels and Schur, along with Poehler, tweaked the show.

Adding comedian Adam Scott and legendary actor Rob Lowe to the cast helped with the ratings slightly but never made the series into an award winning show like “Modern Family” or “The Big Bang Theory.”

More please
“Yes Please” by Amy Poehler is a riveting tale of a girl who came from a lower middle class family from Boston to a woman who took over the comedy world.

Poehler brings endless laughs and fond memories from her days working on “Saturday Night Live.”

“Yes Please” gets four and a half stars because of Poehler’s unapologetic humor and ability to talk about smoking pot and having sex.

When discussing sex she writes, “I love it and I am here to say I am good at it.”

Poehler also admits to her love of Mary Jane by writing, “I can’t perform, drive, or write stoned, and therefore I smoke pot a lot less than I used to.”

With the laughs she brings in this book readers will say “more please” to “Yes Please.”

A second book is hopefully in the works.

“Yes Please” is available now at major retail bookstores and on Amazon retailing at $29.

Michael Saakyan can be reached at

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