Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler is responsible for my favorite sitcom of all time, Parks and Recreation, which sadly came to an end last month. Most of the book consists of stories about Poehler’s time doing improv in Chicago, backstage at SNL, and clean gossip about costars. It’s wry and fun to read, and occasionally thought-provoking. Her essay on apologies, and how she waited too long to give one for an offensive SNL sketch, was easy to relate to. I also liked the one about how she kept her cool when nominated for awards by planning elaborate pranks with co-nominees. She articulates her really smart and well-adjusted way of dealing with the ups and downs of showbiz (but really any career as well): “You have to care about your work but not the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.” I closed the book feeling a little wiser.
Poehler’s feminist cred is well-established, from her character Leslie Knope to her organization Smart Girls at the Party, and I was glad to see her fly that flag in her book. My favorite essay in the book might be “Every Mom Needs a Wife,” which is Poehler’s response to the mommy wars, and to the microaggression “I don’t know how you do it.” Her point is basically twofold: 1) To each her own, and 2) we all need help and support. Amen.
One of the delightful things about this book is that it is so excellent in both print and audio format that I’m not sure which to recommend. The book has nice thick, smooth pages with lots of vintage pictures of young Amy, collages from her improv days, pics of present-day Poehler in clownish dress-ups, as well as report cards, margin notes, full-page color quotes and other text features. The audio has Amy’s excellent comic delivery, audio clips from Parks and Recreation, as well as guest appearances from Seth Meyers, Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur, and her parents. Both text and audio are excellent examples of their genres, so choose your preferred content delivery method.
I hate to compare a bunch of smart, funny ladies when I think they’re all awesome, but of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, and Amy Poehler, Poehler has written the best memoir, and that’s really saying something. I can’t wait to see what she does next, on screen and off.