It’s no surprise Amy Poehler is to receive a star Dec. 3 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it is a surprise they were able to fit the ceremony into her busy schedule.
Just this past year, Poehler hosted the Golden Globes for the third (and final) time with pal Tina Fey, headlined the farewell season of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” (for which she received a sixth consecutive lead actress Emmy nom), went to Cannes for the world premiere of Pixar’s “Inside Out” (which dominated the summer box office and continues to drum up Oscar buzz), appeared in the Netflix comedy “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” served as executive producer of Comedy Central’s “Broad City,” Hulu’s “Difficult People” and NBC’s “Welcome to Sweden,” shot the comedy feature “The House” opposite Will Ferrell and geared up for the December release of “Sisters,” co-starring Fey.
As if that’s not enough, she and Fey will return to their old “Saturday Night Live” stomping ground to host the year’s final episode on Dec. 19.
“I always say to myself, ‘Next year won’t be as busy.’ And, um, it keeps getting busier,” Poehler says with a laugh. “I like to think that with it my capacity for it all expands.”
Part of the reason for the influx of projects was the end of “Parks,” which had provided her with a steady job since 2009. And that was after eight seasons on “Saturday Night Live.”
“Consistency in Hollywood is very rare,” Poehler says. “So to be able to stay with that family (at ‘Parks’) and do that kind of work for many years was really exciting. This year I got to open up and work with all different kinds of people, which made it busy in a different way.”
One of the standout moments was the June release of Pixar’s “Inside Out,” for which she had recorded the voice of lead character Joy over several months two years earlier. The film became a pop culture touchstone, with kids embracing its colorful visuals and giddy sense of humor, and adults moved to tears by the surprisingly complex portrait of emotions running wild in the head of a preteen protag.
“This year I got to open up and work with all different kinds of people, which made it busy in a different way.”
“That film felt like a beautiful jewel that I was lucky to participate in,” Poehler says, noting it was a longtime goal to work with Pixar. “All the other much more talented people did the hard work to make it so good.”
And she’s been enjoying the feedback from viewers who were as moved as she when she saw the final product. “I feel ownership of the character of Joy because I lived with her for many years, but I am such a fan of the film I feel like I took the trip along with (the audience),” Poehler says. “I’ll geek out like them any time they want. I just have a little more access to the swag.”
“Difficult People” — a critically hailed comedy starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner — launched on Hulu, marking Poehler’s latest effort as a producer.
“Right now (producing) is the thing that’s most creatively exciting for me,” she says. “I love watching a show go from a little seed to a tree. You have to join somebody at the bottom of show mountain and work together to climb it. We try to find really distinctive comedic voices and we try to put funny people in comedies. It’s a great recipe for success.”
Next up, she’s producing “The UCB Show” for nascent NBCUniversal digital outlet Seeso. The variety series will spotlight talent at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theaters in New York and Los Angeles, where Poehler made her name in improv prior to “SNL” and with which she retains close ties.
“My connection to the UCB Theater has really sustained me and nourished me during all those years when nobody knew who I was and made me feel like a good performer and helped me become better,” Poehler says. “It’s nice to have a place that you can go to to try out new stuff and feel like you have a lot of creative freedom.”
With the Walk of Fame ceremony looming, Poehler says that hearing she was to receive a star was another one of the year’s highlights.
“It’s very exciting to think about being honored that way, among all those names,” she says. “There’s really no joke to be made about it for me. I was genuinely touched. The first thing I thought of was, ‘I can’t wait to tell my parents.’”
When she did, her mother found a perfect parallel between the Hollywood honor and Poehler’s big year.
“My mom pointed out to me that I’m getting a star and Joy (from ‘Inside Out’) was based on a star. She’s all these million points of light. She’s just filled with light, and that’s what that experience felt like.”