Amy Poehler

Active - 1999 - 2021  |   Born - Sep 16, 1971 in Burlington, Massachusetts, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Children's/Family

Share on

Biography by Andrea LeVasseur

Getting her start in a comedy team called "My Mother's Fleabag" while studying at Boston College, the frantically energized Amy Poehler (born September 16th, 1971) has become an improv queen of sorts on the comedy circuit. After graduation, Poehler got involved with Second City and ImprovOlympic in Chicago, where she worked with improv guru Del Close and began touring. After joining up with the sketch comedy group The Upright Citizens Brigade, she moved to New York City with them in 1996. The group had a show on Comedy Central for three seasons and opened their own theater in New York. Her big mainstream breakthrough came in January 2002, when she was promoted from featured player to member of the repertory cast of Saturday Night Live. Two of her most well-known SNL characters have been the one-legged dating show contestant and the combative trailer-park wife. Her other television appearances included recurring characters on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and Undeclared. On the big screen, she seemed to make an impression despite her small roles. In Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, she played a Tourette's Syndrome sufferer, and in Wet Hot American Summer she was a snobby drama club leader. After appearing in the feature Martin & Orloff with the other members of the Upright Citizens Brigade, she would star with Jack Black and Ben Stiller in Envy in 2004, the same year that she memorably portrayed a wannabe hip mom in the Tina Fey-penned comedy Mean Girls.

The following few years found Poehler skillfully balancing her small-screen career with her feature aspirations, and whether she was sitting at the "Weekend Update" desk, playing the wife of then-real-life husband Will Arnett on Arrested Development, or waiting tables in Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, the increasingly busy actress/comedian could always be counted on for a few hearty laughs. Additional appearances in both the kiddie-friendly Spongebob Squarepants and the terrifyingly hilarious Wonder Showzen during this period in her career would offer hilarious proof of Poehler's crafty ability to alternate between subversive adult material and harmless kid cartoons with an ease that no doubt helped to make her a hit with audiences young and old alike. Despite substantial appearances in (Donnie Darko director) Richard Kelly's eagerly anticipated sophomore feature Southland Tales and Alec Baldwin's remake Shortcut to Happiness going largely unseen when both films languished without a release date for far longer than anyone would have anticipated, fans in need of a Poehler feature fix would find little cause to complain as the actress turned up in The Ex, Blades of Glory -- again opposite then-husband Arnett -- and Shrek the Third in 2007.

Poehler continued to be a popular choice for voice roles, lending her vocal talents to Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), and The Secret World of Arrietty (2010). In 2008, she reunited with Tina Fey to play the freewheeling surrogate mother to a high-strung, career-oriented woman (Fey) who desperately wants a baby. Poehler's star continued to rise with the sitcom Parks and Recreation. Introduced in 2009, the popular comedy series follows Leslie Knope (Poehler), a mid-level bureaucrat working for the parks department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Got her start while a student at Boston College in the comedy troupe My Mother's Fleabag.
  • Trained at Second City and ImprovOlympic, both in Chicago.
  • Appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien as Stacey, Andy Richter's little sister.
  • Made Saturday Night Live history when she joined Tina Fey as Weekend Update co-anchor and they became the first all-female news team during the show's run.
  • Had a recurring role on Arrested Development as the wife of Gob, a character played by her then-husband Will Arnett.
  • Co-created, produced and provided voice-over work in the Nickelodeon series The Mighty B.
  • Her 2016 Emmy win for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy series was shared with Fey (for when they hosted a 2015 episode of SNL together) marked the first time an acting Emmy had been shared.