Maya Reddy ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
On October 28, 2014, the release of Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, came with a slew of her comedy peers releasing similar books, and Amy is not afraid to acknowledge this. She even lists similar comedic memoirs in her preface as examples of what she read during her writing process.
Published through HarperCollins, Amy’s writing process in general is something she is completely upfront with from the very beginning of the novel. She opens up with how hard it is to write a novel, and goes on to give her own advice on how to write a one. As she writes in her book, most of the advice she was given, that came from people who had already written books, was terrible because they were usually too far removed from the process. Therefore, she marvelously offers her own advice, as she writes the book.
Yes Please covers a lot of aspects of Poehler’s life. She tells her story mostly out of order, but she covers her life from the moment she was born, to her divorce, and the end of her NBC comedy, Parks and Recreation. Beyond Poehler’s own personal accounts of moments in her life, several contributions are made from her family and friends. Her mother writes most of the chapter on Amy’s birth, while her dad offers a short blurb about her birth as well. Seth Meyers gets his own chapter in which he writes about the day Amy gave birth to her first son – the day before an SNL episode. And lastly, Mike Schur, one of the co-creators of Parks and Recreation, provides witty annotations to Amy’s writing, as she writes about her time at Parks and Recreation. In this section, Amy also features pieces from the show’s script that have been especially important to her. It is heartwarming to say the least, to see the love Amy showers on those involved in the show.
Amy loves her friends, and she shows this with several chapters dedicated to specific people. Chapters such as the one dedicated to Tina Fey through an acrostic poem, perfectly encapsulates the type of person Amy shows herself to be: goofy, but overwhelmingly sincere. Beyond just her friends, Amy uses her book for a number of things. She touches on an offensive sketch she did on SNL some years ago and she takes a moment in the book to talk about apologies. She touches on an aspect of comedy that is often talked about too little – where to draw the line. It’s refreshing to see a comedian write so openly about this line.
The basic structure of this novel seamlessly jumps from story to story, sometimes with stories within those stories. In any other context, it may be confusing, but Amy expertly keeps each set of anecdotes isolated yet intertwined in a comprehensible way. Readers will definitely enjoy this insightful look into the film industry, along with Amy’s lengthy time performing improv.