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Amy Poehler

3 Ratings: 1.7
An actor

Amy Meredith Poehler ( /ˈeɪm.i ˈpoʊ.lər/; born September 16, 1971) is an American comedian, actress and voice actress. She was a cast member on the NBC television entertainment show Saturday Night Live from … see full wiki

1 review about Amy Poehler

A Review of Yes Please by Amy Poehler

  • Jun 2, 2015
Rating:
-3
Editor's message: Amy Poehler's book, Yes Please, doesn't appear to be in the Lunch.com database, and the icon allowing members to create pages for items isn't working, so I'm placing this review under the author's name instead.

There was a brief period back in the mid-90's when the popular stand-up comedians of the day were regularly writing books. Now, to elaborate, when I say they were "writing books," I mean what they were really doing was simply writing out their traditional, classic stand-up routines out in print, thereby removing any sense of timing or cynicism which would accompany them in person. And the comics doing this weren't your hacks of the week, either; they included dynamos like Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin, and Chris Rock.

Now we seem to be undergoing another wave of comic writing books, and among those launching titles are current television luminaries Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Unfortunately, it took only cursory glances at the books Kaling and Fey wrote for me to figure out they were just full of cute essays, written by writers writing nothing. When I first heard Poehler was going to try her luck with it, though, I figured it might be worth checking out. After all, I liked her more than either Kaling or Fey - no small feat - and she's been one of my favorite actresses for a few years, mostly due to her work on Parks and Recreation. Like Kaling and Fey, she was never a pure stand-up comedian - she honed her skills in sketch and improv comedy and earned her big breaks in television mainly on the strength of her writing. When the reviews of Poehler's book, Yes Please, started trickling in, most of the reviewers talking a different story than they did about the others: Something more authentic.

Here's an authentic point Poehler makes throughout the whole of Yes Please: She hates writing. And here's a public response from myself: It shows. Poehler does reveal things about herself which can be interpreted as brutally honest: She once let a married bartender use her for an extramarital affair; she still smokes pot every now and then. Most of Yes Please, though, goes along the lines of when Poehler describes her first time being improvisational, while acting in a school play when she was very young. I would traditionally give the results of how her spontaneous act ended up going over with her audience, but she doesn't actually tell us.

Yeah, Yes Please is just another cute essay compilation of random nothingness. Poehler drifts through thought after thought, never really expounding very much on them, like a long-winded version of Luna Lovegood. The most autobiographical she gets is her short series of chapters on how she fell in love with improv. It consists of three chapters, haphazardly spaced, taking place in Boston, Chicago, and New York City. Other than that, she mentions her marriage to Will Arnett and her two children fairly frequently, her well-known friendship with Tina Fey - something on which she doesn't give us much information we didn't already know - and her co-workers on Parks and Recreation.

The practical upside is that Amy Poehler at least has some creative ways of saying nothing. After awhile, though, Poehler seems to even tire of trying - in fact, she comes right out and admits it - and just starts rambling. If you're looking to buy Yes Please in the hopes of finding a few hundred pages of Amy Poehler being Amy Poehler, that's the only real strength of Yes Please, and for at least half the book, Poehler is at least successfully able to fake interest in being an author. The first couple of sections of Yes Please are Poehler making the best of her task as an author, even as she confesses how much she hates writing books.

Yes Please is groundless and rudderless, and Poehler frequently writes shifting between direct statements to the audience, witty observations, and dry, stiff statements meant to be taken at face value. Her essays don't end; rather, they seem to simply drop off the face of the Earth. Once or twice, she even invites guest authors to write in the book, simply because she was tired and Yes Please needed to be padded.

Honestly, that's pretty much it. If it seems like I don't have a lot to say about Yes Please, that's because Amy Poehler has so little to say in it.

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