Seriously Funny: Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler has starred on "Saturday Night Live" for seven years, beloved for her risk-taking quirky characters, and more recently, for her buzz-worthy Hillary Clinton impression.

But she feels most at home away from the television cameras in a dimly lit theater in Manhattan, where tickets only cost $5.

For the last 12 years Poehler, 36, has performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv comedy group started in Chicago that Poehler brought to New York with other comedians in order to get their names out.

While she doesn't need help with name recognition anymore, and she certainly doesn't need the money, she continues to perform with the improv troupe.


"It's the closest thing I have to church. You show up to have this communal experience with people that I really love to feel," Poehler said.

"I think it reminds you you're supposed to be silly. I think sometimes with a certain amount of success you get a little disconnected from what brought you there. And you get nervous to take chances and so what I do like about this show is it reminds me over and over again to take risks and be dangerous."

At 5 foot 2 inches, she is a fearlessly physical comic who once blacked out on live TV after a particularly rough pratfall.

On "SNL" she has chosen memorable characters such as Caitlin, a trashy, one-legged reality show contestant; Amber, the host of "Good Morning Meth"; Michael Jackson; and Sharon Stone.

Her Biggest Fans

Poehler grew up in Burlington, Mass., the daughter of two teachers whose unmitigated support of their daughter's career borders on hysteria.

"They watch literally almost every 'SNL' for the past seven years, live. I'm not kidding. They watch it live. They have everything I've ever done on tape. Every movie poster I've ever done. I have [a] restraining order against them. It's now getting inappropriate," Poehler joked.

They have reason to be proud. Poehler has broken some glass ceilings in the comedy world. Three years ago she and Tina Fey became the first female co-anchors for the iconic "SNL" sketch "Weekend Update."

Poehler enjoys doing the "Weekend Update," because it is one of the few roles that lets her be herself.

"I love doing the update. … The difference is that you will say your name on the show. It makes a difference," Poehler said. "You allow yourself to be yourself on camera, which is hard for an actor to do but really hard for a comedian to do. You're not hiding behind a character."

She was inspired by her comedy idol Gilda Radner who got her start on the show 30 years ago.

"I would have to say my ground zero person was probably Gilda. I remember thinking how she held her own in a group of real alpha males."

'Baby Mama'

She is starring with Fey in the comedy "Baby Mama," in theaters April 25, which tackles the decidedly un-funny subject of infertility with odd couple antics.

Poehler plays Angie, a crude, working class girl with a heart of gold who signs on to be a surrogate for Fey's Kate, a single yuppie in her late 30s who can't get pregnant.

"We were excited about the idea. We felt we hadn't seen it in a while. The idea of it being a straight-up comedy about two women. The topic felt very real to us, like it was really ripe for good jokes," said Poehler.

While Poehler acted out her fair share of outrageous moments in the movie, she wanted to be careful in how she portrayed Angie.

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