BOOK REVIEW: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Posted on June 18, 2015

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poehlerYes Please

Amy Poehler

Picador

2014

ISBN: 9781743534151

 

BUY IT NOWYes Please

 

In Australia, at least, Amy Poehler is something of a curiosity. Just like Tina Fey, Poehler was a well-known face in the US from her years on Saturday Night Live. But SNL was not part of the regular Australian television landscape. I had never seen it until the Foxtel comedy channel began playing some older episodes. It was there that I first got to see both Poehler and Fey in action together and I loved it.

It was the Parks and Recreation series that brought Poehler to a wider Australian television audience, again paralleling the Fey experience with 30 Rock. And it is hardly surprising that the pair having been having similar performing paths. They come from similar developmental backgrounds, performance-wise at least, worked together for years, became good friends and have nicely complementing styles.

For me, the mark of a good autobiography is that it gives you a real sense of getting into the subject’s head, a feeling of what they are really like as an individual, in their own words and not that of a ghost writer. It is not always good personal revelations. For example an autobiography I reviewed a while back left me with no doubt that the subject was a dangerous psychopath. I was scared enough to be careful how I described that, just in case he read it and decided on a bit of come back, incredibly unlikely as that may have been. He figuratively scared the shit out of me through his words.

With Yes Please, I felt a similar degree of exposure but fortunately with much happier results. Amy Poehler comes across as honest, tearing out some the things from deep inside her onto the page, admitting to things that she was not proud of. She is also bloody funny, entertaining and extremely interesting. I am left with the sense that in the highly unlikely event I was able to hang out with Poehler, we would either completely give each other the shits or have a great time laughing and playing silly buggers together, with not much in between.

By now you should have realised that I am a fan of Amy Poehler and this autobiography has merely deepened that appreciation.

One of the drawbacks of any biography is that all too often we pretty much have to take the author’s word for things without much in the way of supporting material. Can you imagine what an autobiography by the recently deceased Alan Bond would have been like without all the revelations through investigative media which helped ultimately bring him to account as a criminally fraudulent piece of filth? Except he would have probably paid a ghost writer just as he threw money or at least pretend money at everything else he wanted. What a great bloke he would have been in that biog! In fact, considering how his corrupt and fraudulent empire fell apart, any ghost writer would have probably ended up one of the debtors left to settle for that paltry six cents on the dollar before he ended up in prison on fraud charges. But we had a strong visual record of just what a piece of filth he really was. With Yes Please, a form of supporting evidence is already out there.

I love Parks and Recreation, occasionally enjoying some marathon viewing sessions on DVD. One of the things about DVD collections is that they often include some behind the scenes material including gag reels. The gag reels in particular can sometimes reveal things about the relationship between the players. For example I recently saw some behind the scenes footage from another program where one fairly high profile person kept blowing one line. In similar circumstances with other programs, that would have resulted in lots of laughter among the other members of the cast and crew there. Instead, every time the line was blown, the rest of the cast on set studiously looked the other way with an almost palpable sense of ‘we don’t want to know them.’ In contrast, the gag reels from Parks and Recreation are in some respects even more fun than the already very funny broadcast program. Everyone there seems to be having fun, wanting to be there. And so much of that seems centred around Poehler herself, bearing up the same sense I obtained from reading Yes Please.

Yes Please is an interesting biography, sharing an interesting story about an interesting individual that I still admire after reading. This is definitely worth reading.

star5

 

 

Ross sig

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Posted in: Review