Funny Girl

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First Posted: 10/19/2014

Whether known for her outlandish characters and skits on “Saturday Night Live,” her pedantic behavior as Leslie Knope on “Parks and Recreation” or her standout presence in films, Amy Poehler is a character — a funny girl who has humored her way into our hearts. Of course, while Poehler’s personality has always seemed that of lightheartedness, her first memoir, “Yes Please”, a collection of stories, advice, personal letters, and even haikus, demonstrates vulnerability, ultimately expressing that even the funny girl is not immune from grief.

“Yes Please” is lengthy, sarcastic, and bright. The book is comprised of three parts: Say Whatever You Want, Do Whatever You Like, and Be Whoever You Are. Poehler includes various personal tidbits throughout the collection, including but not limited to photos, correspondence, and even some of her favorite autographs. One of the prime pieces comes from the latter section of the work, “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend”. The piece is glorious for a variety of reasons. One, much like anyone with good taste, Poehler discusses why “The Wire” was one of the best-written television shows. Two, Poehler expresses her thoughts on one of the show’s notorious characters.

Poehler is a fan of the lovable gangster character, Omar Little, played by the talented, Michael K. Williams. What she learns from Little’s character is ambivalence: “Ambivalence can help tame the beast. Remember, your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you. If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else.” In other words, care about what you are doing, but do not let the end goal define your life. Further standout pieces include: “Laughing to Crying to Laughing,” “My Books on Divorce,” “My World-Famous Sex Advice,” “Obligatory Drug Stories, or Lessons I Learned on Mushrooms,” “Let’s Build a Park,” and last but not least, “The Robots Will Kill Us All: A Conclusion”.

Poehler proves that while life is full of struggles, simplicity becomes the goal. Poehler’s overarching message then becomes just as easy: Don’t take life too seriously and laugh whenever possible. The novel is not due out until the end of the month, but if you are looking for a good laugh — the kind where you may or may not have just wet yourself — you have found your girl.