Yes Please

Summary

  “Yes Please,” by Amy Poehler, is an autobiographical book that discusses the significant things and events in her life, especially her family, friends, and acting and comedy career. Even though most of the book talks about how she progressed from a small time improv comedian to a well known actress, she gives a lot of advice on topics like divorce, her career, and raising kids. She also gives some funny advice that has to do with drugs, being a bad sleeper, and time travel.

Biography of the Author

Amy Poehler was born on September 16, 1971 in Newtown, Massachusetts, to Eileen and William Poehler. When she was in elementary school she was in a school production of the Wizard of Oz. There were some mistakes in the play that made the audience laugh. That is the moment that she knew she wanted to make people laugh for a living (Poehler, 47). She attended Boston College, and while there joined an improv group called My Mother’s Fleabag. After college, she moved to Chicago and started studying improv at Second City and Impov Olympic. While there, she met her future Saturday Night Live Weekend Update partner Tina Fey. Through these groups she and other members formed their own improv group called the Upright Citizens Brigade (“Amy Poehler”). This group traveled around to perform shows, and eventually moved to New York and made regular appearances on Late Night with Conan O’ Brien. After receiving recognition from Conan, the Upright Citizens earned a show on Comedy Central called the Upright Citizens Brigade, but it was eventually cancelled. After the show got cancelled, Poehler landed a spot on Saturday Night Live (SNL) . Her first show was right after 9/11 with Will Ferrell. After Jimmy Fallon left SNL, she co-anchored Weekend Update with her friend from Chicago, Tina Fey. After Fey left the show, Seth Meyers replaced her, who Poehler had met at a show she had done in Chicago. After her time at SNL, Poehler played Leslie Knope, the main character of Parks and Recreation, a show about an over-excited government employee who works for the parks department in Pawnee, Indiana. This show was and still is extremely popular (“Biography”). She was married to actor Will Arnett for 13 years, and has two sons with him, Archie and Abel. She won her first Emmy in 2016, after being nominated several times, but never winning (France).

Historical Context

One historical event that influenced Amy Poehler was 9/11. She was living in New York at the time and had just became a full-time writer for SNL. After this tragedy she wondered if people would ever laugh again. SNL also has been a main event that has influenced Poehler’s life as well as her career. It has created opportunities for women to pursue a career in comedy. Even though the industry has and still is mostly dominated by males, SNL has given women a chance to pursue and grow their careers in comedy. Amy Poehler has been a testimony to this, and so has Tina Fey, her co-star on SNL.  Poehler was on SNL from 2001 to 2008, but returned several times as a guest. As she gained recognition on SNL she landed the main role of Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. This show aired on NBC from 2009 to 2015. This show also propelled the career of other female comedians such as Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, and Marietta Sangai Sirleaf, also known as Retta.

Connections to Other People

Amy Poehler has often been compared to Tina Fey, another female comedian who happens to also be her best friend. They met each other at ImprovOlympics in Chicago in 1993. They are both the same age and have worked on several projects together, including Saturday Night Live, the movie Sisters, and the movie Baby Mama. They also have co-hosted the Golden Globes together. The two comedians have been compared by many due to their similar sense of humor. This has allowed them to collaborate on a variety of projects together. Examples such as the movie Mean Girls, where Tina Fey wrote and acted in the movie and Poehler acted in the movie as well, display how the two work well on scene. On SNL, the two were the stars of Weekend Update and fed off of one another’s jokes. Not only are they compared as people, their books are also compared to one another. Tina Fey wrote the book called Bossy Pants, which was a large inspiration for Poehler to start writing Yes Please. Due to the fact that both women have a similar sense of humor, it is easy to see the connection many people make between their novels’ themes, tone, and technique. The two books also feature a similar narrative since both women have followed similar paths in their comedic careers (Bui).

Another novel that Amy Poehler’s Yes Please has been compared to by media critics is Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  Mindy Kaling is known for her starring role in The Mindy Project, a highly rated television comedy. Mindy Kaling’s autobiography is very similar to Poehler’s, as it discusses similar themes. Kaling talks about  her childhood and career as a female comedian / actress, she explores female empowerment, and she discusses relationships shes had with men such as her boyfriend and her “great guy best friend”. Both autobiographies follow a personal and informal narrative that create a tone of familiarity and reliability between the reader and author.

Reviews of Text

There are many positive reviews about this book, which we agreed with. The Washington Post and Rolling Stone gave positive reviews about her book and her as a person. The Washington post talked a lot about her other appearances in comedy and used them as a relief or cure for a bad week. The review was written a day after the book was published, which was also doing the midterm elections and cited that the book was a great escape from all the stress (Dry). The Rolling Stone review was written in a list format and was relatively informal and funny, and also gave Poehler much praise for her ability to write. The nine different bullet points the critic made each explored different themes of Poehler’s autobiography such as her relationships, female empowerment, and her career as a female comedian. This review promoted Amy Poehler’s autobiography in a more creative and modern way than through a typical review. It’s writing style is similar to a Buzzfeed list which portrays how the review was probably targeted more towards millennials or younger people (Dionne).

A review published by the Guardian was a mix of both positives and negatives. The main theme of the review was that Amy Poehler’s book wasn’t really a book at all, rather, it was more of a scrapbook of ideas and advice from a well known celebrity. The review even went as far as to call it a “non-book”, but it also focused on positives of the autobiography as well as Poehler’s character. It discussed how the autobiography repeatedly has a “you go girl!” tone, constantly promoting female empowerment. Overall, the book critic praised Poehler’s wit and advice she demonstrated in her book, but told the average reader not to expect much as far a literary excellence (Miller).

Works Cited

  1. “Amy Poehler” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 29 June 2017, www.biography.com/people/amy-poehler-586004.
  2. “Biography.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm0688132/bio.
  3. Bui, Hoai-Tran. “’Sisters’ Forever: A Timeline of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Friendship.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 16 Dec. 2015, www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2015/12/16/sisters-forever-timeline-tina-fey-and-amy-poehlers-friendship/77393182/.
  4. Dionne, Zach. “9 Takeaways From Amy Poehler’s Hilarious New Book.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 30 Oct. 2014, www.rollingstone.com/tv/features/9-things-we-learned-from-amy-poehlers-yes-please-20141030.
  5. Dry, Rachel. “Review: ‘Yes Please,’ by the Always Honest, Always Hilarious Amy Poehler.”The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Oct. 2014, www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/review-yes-please-by-amypoehler/2014/10/29/41839650-5b90-11e4-8264 deed989ae9a2_story.html?utm_term=.cbc04c2e3186.
  6. Duberman, Amanda. “Amy Poehler On The Not-A-Feminist Trend: ‘I Don’t Get It’.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 31 Jan. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/31/amy-poehler-feminism-elle_n_4702359.html.
  7. France, Lisa Respers. “Amy Poehler Wins Her First Emmy, Finally.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Sept. 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/9/12/entertainment/amy-poehler-emmys/index.html.
  8. Gray, Emma. “All The Life Advice You Really Need, Courtesy Of Amy Poehler.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/28/amy-poehler-yes-please-book-quotes_n_6042674.html.
  9. Kingston, Anne. “Amy Poehler’s Radical Message: ‘Be Nice. Work Hard.’.” Macleans.ca, 2 Nov. 2014, www.macleans.ca/society/amy-poehlers-radical-message-be-nice-work-hard/.
  10. Miaohdeux. “The Unprofessional Critic.” Celebrity Almost-Encounters: Amy Poehler, 1 Jan. 1970, unprofessionalcritic.blogspot.com/2011/05/celebrity-almost-encounters-amy-poehler.html.
  11. Miller, Laura. “Yes Please by Amy Poehler Review – ‘Beefs, Advice and Memoir’.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Nov. 2014, www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/26/yes-please-amy-poehler-review-memoir.
  12. Poehler, Amy. Yes Please. Dey St., an Imprint of William Morrow Publishers, 2014.
  13. Reporter, Mail Online. “‘Getting a Divorce Really Sucks!’ Amy Poehler Breaks Her Silence about Split from Husband Will Arnett.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspaper, 14 Oct. 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2791869/getting-divorce-really -sucks-amy-poehler-breaks-silence-split-husband-arnett.html.
  14. Robinson, Melia. “21 Times Women Made History on ‘Saturday Night Live’”. Business Insider, 8 Mar. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/the-women-of-snl-2014-1#presidential-candidate-hillary-clinton-endorsed-kate-mckinnons-impression-of-her-21.
  15. Rubin, Rebecca. “Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler Revive ‘SNL’ Segment to Mock Pro-Trump Protesters.” Variety, 22 June 2017, www.variety.com/2017/tv/news/seth-meyers-amy-poehler-late-night-weekend-update-1202476324/.
  16. “Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Through the Years (PHOTOS).” Variety, 9 Jan. 2014, variety.com/gallery/tina-fey-and-amy-poehler-through-the-years-photos/#!1/feypoehler.
  17. “11 Pictures of Young Amy Poehler.” Ranker, www.ranker.com/list/young-amy-poehler-pictures/cari-fortier.