Amy Poehler shares her Must List, talks hosting Golden Globes and directing Moxie
You may know her as a "Really?" funny SNL alum, Parks and Recreation's overdedicated public servant Leslie Knope, or 50 percent of the in-demand Amy Poehler–Tina Fey hosting duo. But that's just scratching the corner of her resume.
She's a producer (Difficult People, Broad City), a creator (Russian Doll, Duncanville), a reality competition host (Making It, which she produces with Nick Offerman), a founder of an organization that empowers young women (Amy Poehler's Smart Girls at the Party), and a film director (Wine Country). The 49-year-old Emmy-winning hyphenate sits in the director's chair again for Netflix's Moxie (March 3), a high-school-set coming-of-age comedy based on Jennifer Mattoo's YA book. Haldley Robinson stars as a quiet teen who befriends a self-assured new student (Alycia Pascual-Peña), learns that her own mother (Poehler) was active in the '90s feminist punk movement, and creates a zine that exposes sexism and begets a revolution.
"It's about a young girl who is seeing all of these things happening in her high school and realizing she wants to participate in trying to make change, but she's not sure how," Poehler tells EW. "She starts something that is taken over by the other girls at school, and it becomes a bigger idea and movement. The hope is that in those juicy John Hughesian worlds — and I did make up that term, John Hughesian — where high school is very important and high school is your own small world, it's a really funny and sweet and encouraging idea that there are different ways in which you can participate. You can decide how you care about something and we can't do it alone. We need our tribe to help us."
Poehler also will helm a feature-length documentary for Imagine Documentaries about Lucille Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz. "They had an unbelievable partnership and they were really both incredible at what they did," she says. "I'm just very honored to be able to talk to people who had a chance to work with her. I'm really fascinated by the way she worked. My hope is that we show them as complex, incredibly talented artists who, when they collided, changed the face of American television."
You'll next see Poehler in front of the camera, though, when she reteams with Fey on Feb. 28 to host the Golden Globes, which "the world still insists on having," she quips. Poehler will emcee from Los Angeles while Fey anchors in New York City. What kind of bits are they plotting? "Tina and I take quarantine very seriously," she hints. "We are rule followers. I'm going to do what Fauci tells me to do. We're going to use those necessary limitations to have a lot of fun creatively. That's all I can really say."
She had a lot more to say about her pop culture interests, as you will see below, where she reveals the TV shows, movie, book, song, and bonus item that have entertained and comforted her during this endless quarantine.
I May Destroy You (HBO)
"Michaela Coel had a specific point of view, way of communicating, and song about her that once you heard, you just couldn't get enough of it. Yes, I thought the writing was really interesting, the story was really interesting, and it really said something, but you just couldn't take your eyes off her. I was really blown away by her vulnerable, very funny, very original performance.
"Not to compare it to something that I've produced, but what makes Russian Doll so successful is that there's a real specific song to Natasha [Lyonne]. And if you love that song, you just can't get enough. And Michaela Cole had a similar song. She had a specific point of view, way of communicating, and song about her that once you heard, you just couldn't get enough of it. Yes, I thought the writing was really interesting, and the story was really interesting, and it really said something, but you just couldn't really take your eyes off her. You really wanted to know what she was going to do next — and you cared about what was going to happen to her. I was really blown away by her vulnerable and very funny, very original performance."
I Hate Suzie (HBO Max)
"People throw around the words dark and comedy — and sometimes neither is correct. I just love the tone of the show. Billie Piper is awesome. The female characters are really well-written, and and there's just a very strong sense of female creators behind the material that make it really resonate. I knew nothing about it; it was recommended to me and I'm just really, really impressed by it."
Stage Door (1937, directed by Gregory La Cava)
"It's Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn, and Lucille Ball has a smaller part. It felt ahead of its time — it takes place in a home run by women for women, who are actresses. It had a secret feminist message, there was a lot of improvisation, and the camerawork was really something. Lucille Ball's really excellent in it, and of course, Katharine Hepburn is Katharine Hepburn. And Ginger Rogers. That was another one where that I discovered with the strange pockets of time we have now that I've been thinking about a lot. People don't talk about that movie enough."
The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
"It's a story of young gay men in the '80s in Chicago as the AIDS crisis starts to unfold — and also about a woman in present day trying to connect with her daughter. There were big parallels to how we dealt with a crisis, how we dealt with sickness, and how people had to be alone when they were dying. It's this deep, beautiful book, but also very irreverent."
"Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," by the 5th Dimension
"I've been listening to the soundtrack of Hair, because there's some really great songs on it. And also 'Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.' I've been playing [this medley from Hair] a lot. Every year I try to pick a song that is an intention, and not to get too woo-woo here, but here we go. We've just entered the age of Aquarius. Change is coming — big cosmic shift, matriarchy, positioned to take over because we've given it the other side a try for a couple of thousand years and it's not going great. I would highly recommend ['Age of Aqarius/Let the Sunshine In'], because it has all the vibes of High School Musical, singing in your car. But the message is one that I need right now."
"I'm one of those basic bitches who learned how to make sourdough bread this year, and I'm really into my proofing basket. For those not in the know, it's a cute little basket that you put your bread in after you've done all this work, and you let it rise one last time. It's like the last mile of a marathon. It's this weirdly satisfying feeling: You've worked hard making the dough rise, you shape it, and you put in this really delicate little proofing basket. We have zero control over our lives right now, so anything that feels contained, safe, and on the rise gets a thumbs-up from me."