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One of the best-known comedians to emerge from the improvisational comedy scene of the 1990s, Amy Poehler performed tirelessly on Chicago and New York stages before making her mainstream breakout as a cast member of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). She had previously starred in "The Upright Citizens Brigade" (Comedy Central, 1998-2000), a sketch comedy show created by the improv group of the same name, which morphed into a hotbed of emerging talent. During her seven-year run on "SNL," Poehler skewered celebs like Kelly Ripa, Avril Lavigne and Sharon Osbourne; served as co-anchor of Weekend Update; and delivered a memorable impression of then-Senator and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Poehler transitioned successfully to the big screen with a pair of Tina Fey-scripted features, "Mean Girls" (2004), and "Baby Mama" (2008). Maintaining a foothold in television, Poehler was the creator of the charming animated series "The Mighty B!" (Nickelodeon, 2008-2011) and the star of the small town sitcom "Parks and Recreation" (NBC, 2009-2015), while her additional in-demand status as a voiceover actor in films like Pixar's "Inside Out" (2015) made her one of the most successful cross-media comics of her generation.
The daughter of former high school teachers Bill and Eileen Poehler, Amy Poehler was born in Burlington, MA on Sept. 16, 1971. Possessed of a hyper-energetic verve since early childhood, Poehler seemed destined for a life in the comedic arts. Known by the less-than-subtle moniker, "Crazy Amy," in high school, Poehler headed off to Boston College after graduating in 1993. At Boston, Poehler pursued a degree in media and communications by day, and performed stand-up at local comedy clubs by night. With her big smile and frenetic charm, Poehler quickly became a known commodity around the Boston comedy scene.
After graduation, Poehler moved to Chicago, IL and got involved in acting and improvisational workshops at Second City and later, the ImprovOlympics, where she studied under famed comedy coach Del Close - mentor to such famed "SNL" alums as Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and Chris Farley. During her stint in Chicago, Poehler joined the Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch improv group formed by Matt Besser and Horatio Sans. Mindful of Chicago's much lower ceiling for rising talent, Poehler and fellow U.C.B.-er Matt Walsh spearheaded the effort to move the troupe to New York City in the late 1990s. Once in the Big Apple, it was not long before the troupe got its own television show on Comedy Central - "The Upright Citizens Brigade" (1998-2000) - where Poehler did double-duty as both a performer and a writer. Operating from a headquarters known as the "Inner Sanctum," the show's mission was to spread chaos wherever and whenever possible, undermining figures of authority and disrupting an unstable world. During its three-season run, "The Upright Citizen's Brigade" became a cult favorite, gaining a loyal fan base.
On television, Poehler created the recurring character of Stacey Richter - the fictional kid sister of co-host Andy Richter - on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (NBC, 1993-2009). In 2001, Poehler made a move up in the world when she landed at "Saturday Night Live," starting out as a featured player. Promoted to a full regular less than six months later, Poehler became only the second performer in "SNL" history to earn a field promotion mid-season - with Eddie Murphy being the first. As a testament to her obvious talent, Poehler was given the much-coveted co-anchor spot on "Weekend Update," replacing the über-popular Jimmy Fallon.
Poehler continued her film work throughout her tenure as a Not-Ready-for-Primetime Player. One of her earliest film projects - the dark comedy "Martin & Orloff" (2001) - never got a theatrical release, but was screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2002. Poehler's next role, in the Ben Stiller-Jack Black comedy "Envy" (2004), was another misfire, but Poehler struck gold with her next project - the Lindsay Lohan vehicle, "Mean Girls" (2004). Released the same day as "Envy," "Mean Girls" - written by Poehler's fellow "SNL" cast member, Tina Fey - went on to take the top spot during its opening weekend. After making a cameo appearance as a snotty waitress in 2006's "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," Poehler appeared as herself in director Barry Levinson's "Man of the Year" (2006).
On a feature film roll, she appeared in "Blades of Glory," a goofball comedy about two rival ice skaters (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder) who - after being banned-for-life from competition - must reluctantly join forces to form a couple's routine. In the film, Poehler played one-half of the Van Waldenbergs - a scheming brother-sister duo who are the pair's main competitors. In an inspired bit of casting, the part of Stranz Van Waldenberg - the partner/brother of Poehler's character, Fairchild Van Waldenberg - was played to hilarious results by none other than Poehler's real-life husband, Arnett.
In 2007, Poehler joined fellow funny girls Amy Sedaris and Cheri Oteri as one of three classic fairy tale princesses imprisoned by Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) in the highly anticipated sequel, "Shrek the Third." Cast as the voice of Snow White, Poehler lent her signature sarcasm to a character best known for her virtue and earnestness. Alongside Sedaris' Cinderella and Oteri's Sleeping Beauty, Poehler formed one-third of a high-maintenance trinity that provided a deliciously amusing counterpoint to the movie's selfless heroine, Princess Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz). As expected, "Shrek the Third" did phenomenal business opening weekend, breaking the record the first sequel had smashed three years prior.
Poehler also appeared in a supporting role in the romantic comedy "The Ex" (2007) before going on to take the lead in the successful female-powered comedy, "Baby Mama" (2008). In a classic Poehler performance, she starred as a sassy, immature woman hired by a busy professional (Tina Fey) to be a surrogate mother. Naturally, lies lead to complications, which force the pair to become mismatched roomies in what became one of the most successful feature films to originate from female "SNL" alum. During that busy year, Poehler bid her "SNL" job goodbye to co-create and star in "The Mighty B!," a sweet and funny animated series following a feisty young bee scout on her quest to snare scouting achievement badges. The series was a solid ratings earner for Nickelodeon. Concurrently, Poehler moved into primetime to star as a small town administrator in "Parks and Recreation" (NBC, 2009-2015), a mildly successful offering that played down the actress' high energy unpredictability in favor of a less well-suited "Office"-like irony.
A sought-after voice acting talent, Poehler maintained her multi-media domination with roles in the blockbuster family hits "Horton Hears a Who!" (2008) and "Monsters vs. Aliens" (2009), as well as "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel" (2009). In 2009, Poehler was recognized for her work on her final season of "SNL" with an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, which featured several memorable appearances as Hillary Clinton - even alongside the Senator herself - and a hilarious skit in which she played Katie Couric to Tina Fey's Sarah Palin. The following year, she earned another Emmy Award nomination, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on "Parks and Recreation," a feat she repeated yearly for the next four years. In September 2012, fans were shocked to learn that their favorite comedic couple, Arnett and Poehler, were separating after nine years of marriage. Arnett filed for divorce in 2014.
Poehler appeared in the comedy "A.C.O.D." (2013) starring her "Parks and Recreation" love interest Adam Scott. She also appeared in one installment of Scott's ongoing series "The Greatest Event In Television History" (Adult Swim 2012- ), in which the actor meticulously recreates the opening sequences of '70s and '80s TV shows. Poehler co-starred with Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis in Matthew Weiner's bittersweet comedy "Are You Here" (2013) and played opposite Paul Rudd in David Wain's satire of cheesy romantic comedies, "The Came Together" (2014). On the small screen, Poehler appeared on "Kroll Show" (Comedy Central 2013-15) a sketch show created by and starring Nick Kroll, whom Poehler started dating after separating from Arnett. She also executive produced "Broad City" (Comedy Central 2014- ), a critically-acclaimed series created by and starring comedians Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, and "Welcome To Sweden" (NBC 2014-15), a Swedish-American co-production created by and starring her brother Greg Poehler, based on his experiences as an American living in Sweden after marrying a Swedish woman. Her first book, a combination memoir and self-help manual called Yes, Please, was published in 2014. After "Parks and Recreation" wrapped up its critically-acclaimed run in early 2015, Poehler starred in the Pixar film "Inside Out" (2015), playing the personification of the emotion Joy inside a moody young girl's brain. After reteaming with Fey in the Paula Pell comedy "Sisters" (2015), Poehler joined forces with Will Ferrell for "The House" (2017), playing a couple who turn their suburban home into an illegal casino.
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Moved to Chicago, IL where she studied at the Second City and Improv Olympics
Made recurring appearances on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (NBC) as Stacy, Andy Richter's little sister
Appeared in the film "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo," which starred Rob Schneider
Made a memorable cameo as Regina George's (Rachel McAdams) mother in Tina Fey written comedy "Mean Girls"
Appeared as Jack Black's wife in Barry Levinson's "Envy"
Played a truck stop waitress in "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny"
Co-starred with husband Will Arnett as a rival pairs figure skating team in the comedy "Blades of Glory"
Voiced Snow White in the animated feature "Shrek the Third"
Co-starred in Richard Kelly's ensemble film "Southland Tales"
Voiced The Mayor's wife in the animated feature "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"
Reteamed with former "SNL" castmate Fey in the comedy "Baby Mama"
Returned to the show during the "SNL Presidential Bash 08" as Hillary Clinton
Voiced the lead character Bessie Higgenbottom on the Nickelodeon animated series "The Mighty B!"
Voiced the character Homily in the U.S. release of the Studio Ghibli animated fantasy film "The Secret World of Arrietty"; film also featured voice of husband Will Arnett
Announced as co-host (along with Tina Fey) of 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards, a position they held for the next two years as well.
Served as executive producer on "Welcome To Sweden," a sitcom created by and starring her brother Greg Poehler.