Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: Yes Please

I've never been coy about my deep and abiding love for comedian memoirs of all shapes, sizes, and schools of comedy. I blame my Dad for his part, but its honestly just because of the continued interest I have in the not-always-funny lives of my favorite funny people, exhibited through every new edition of memoirs. 

The latest of which was Amy Poehler's Yes Please...

In the rare case you haven't heard of the new collection of life anecdotes from the effervescent long-time SNL alum and star of the fading Parks and Recreation on NBC, Yes Please is a rambling, tangent-traveling, saga of dead-funny and open-hearted truth-embellishment, courtesy of the blonde half of America's favorite comedy duo. 

In comparison to some of Poehler's female comedy compatriots, Yes Please takes a more deliberately funny approach than her "comedy wife" Tina Fey's Bossypants, or Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. One of the many reasons why I like comedian memoirs that give better scope to why they pursued comedy, and after reading Yes Please I think I've come to the conclusion that Amy Poehler is just a straight-up, inherently funny lady.

Here's the thing, though: Tina Fey, by contrast, manages to project a professional veneer even when she's being self-effacing, with this superhuman effect of making everything she does look perfectly deliberate, even when you know she's been secretly exhibiting a Dickensian amount of work to get there. Meanwhile, Poehler is perfectly aware of the fact that writing is hard, and comedy is hard, and spends more time impressing on readers as to the importance of why its all worth the work rather than the importance of the work itself.

This was especially true when she was talking about her time working on the comedy juggernaut of Saturday Night Live, complete with stories of pranks and pitfalls she took during her time with some of my favorite key players of the '00s. I love reading about what goes behind the scenes on one of my favorite television shows, and this provides even more highlighting as to the scope of exactly what kind of very special people can exist in that blessedly chaotic ecosystem. None better than this unapologetic loudmouth with a heart of gold and an affinity for going balls to the wall when committing to an act.

That being said, she also knows how to apologize. And stick up for herself, and her fellow women. She's fearless and loving and really damn smart. I had no idea that this tiny blonde smile-making-machine was such a courageous person, in both attitude and actions, and this book did a great job at giving a greater context on who exactly Amy Poehler is, and what she's been able to do.

Final Verdict: What I'm struck by most after finishing this book, is how much I wish I could be more like Amy Poehler.

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