A review of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please: Hitting the funny bone in all the right places
Christmas came early this year.
On Oct. 28, comedian, SNL alum and current Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler released her first book, Yes Please. These words, when together, bring forth power and preciseness, according to Poehler. “Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no and saying ‘please’ doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission,” she noted.
This mid-life memoir is both ambitious and earnest, fiery and tender, much like its author.
Reading about Poehler’s simple childhood, first jobs and memories in “the biz” was sort of like reading a hilarious history book. However, at 329 pages, the book is an easy read. Best of all, it’s relatable for women of any age.
Comedic memoir prefaces are always the best, like licking the frosting off of a cupcake before devouring the rest. In hers, Poehler discusses about how hard it was to write a book – it’s accurately titled “Writing Is Hard.” Nevertheless, her impeccable and unique narrating style made it a gem.
At just 43 years old, she does not see herself as “middle aged” quite yet. She can drink with the 20-year-olds, but will take a week to recover and still isn’t excited for dinner at 5:30 p.m. She discusses all this, as well as her experimentation with cocaine in the 90’s drug scene, which she said was “terrific if you want to hang out with people you don’t know very well and play ping-pong all night. It’s bad for everything else.”
She recalled her fondest memories at SNL: When she went into labor the morning of a show and Seth Myers had to do Weekend Update by himself for the first time or when she was looking for aspirin and was offered ten loose pills from Johnny Knoxville’s jean pocket. The years she spent at SNL were described as “laughing then crying then laughing.” And speaking of funny, she gives the skinny on how and why she fell in love with improv in Boston, Chicago and New York, New York long before she became famous.
But don’t expect an explanation of why Amy and her ex-husband Will Arnett split up – she said it’s “too sad and too personal.” She wants readers to be entertained, not sympathetic.
She doesn’t focus on one subject for too long, which makes the book almost as jumpy as she is. Unlike Tina Fey’s Bossypants or Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, the memoir is organized chaos containing small essay-like stories, a chapter written by Seth Meyers, a letter from Hillary Clinton and even blank pages to ask your parents your birth story, which makes it complicated to fully enjoy at some points.
However, it proves that just because it’s your memoir, doesn’t mean it can be too much of a scrapbook.
Indeed, Yes Please reminded me why I love Poehler as much as I do, but the messiness got to me.
This melting pot of personal stories from parenthood, friends, sex and relationships offers some hilarious advice that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This memoir is not all laughs, however.
Poehler is a woman who precisely knows when to throw in a one-liner that punches us right in the funny bone and this book is one of the rare ones out there that truly holds words to live by. Like, “Treat your career like a bad boyfriend,” and most importantly, “If its not funny, you don’t have to laugh.”
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