Individually, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the greats. But together? Well, there’s no one better. Let the ultimate power pair—costarring again in Sisters—explain their two-decade friendship. Forget Jay Z and Beyoncé, or Brad and Angelina—the real love story of our time is the friendship between Tina Fey, 45, and Amy Poehler, 44. It started unassumingly, like all real friendships do: Fey, a wisecracking theater kid, and Poehler, the onetime secretary of her high school class, met while taking improv classes in Chicago in 1993. In the two decades since, they’ve built fame, fortune, family, and some of the most culture-shifting comedy of their generation. Let’s count the ways. The twosome ushered in a new era at Saturday Night Live; as cast members in the 2000s, Fey and Poehler spoke directly to and for women, roasting mom jeans and proudly reclaiming the word bitch (“Bitches get stuff done,” Fey joked). They made history as the first female pair to coanchor “Weekend Update” and influenced elections with impersonations of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Separately, they’ve created some of the most dynamic characters and shows on TV: Fey’s Liz Lemon on 30 Rock and Poehler’s Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation
Let’s count the ways. The twosome ushered in a new era at Saturday Night Live; as cast members in the 2000s, Fey and Poehler spoke directly to and for women, roasting mom jeans and proudly reclaiming the word bitch (“Bitches get stuff done,” Fey joked). They made history as the first female pair to coanchor “Weekend Update” and influenced elections with impersonations of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Separately, they’ve created some of the most dynamic characters and shows on TV: Fey’s Liz Lemon on 30 Rock and Poehler’s Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. And they’ve nurtured a slew of talented women too, including the screenwriter behind the Pitch Perfect movies and the creators of Broad City. But there’ll always be something especially magical about them together: Their film collaborations Mean Girls and Baby Mama still hook us every time they come on cable. And as three-time hosts of the Golden Globes, they pulled in record ratings. “How much are we going to miss Amy and Tina?” Meryl Streep asked, at the 2015 Globes, the last of their back-to-back run.
Fear not, Meryl. The duo is together again, starring in Sisters, out December 18. It’s a comedy about two siblings, Fey’s hard-partying Kate and Poehler’s responsible Maura, who, after finding out that their parents have sold their childhood home, go back to throw one last rager. You just can’t get in the way of their chemistry, so for this interview Glamour had them take turns pulling questions—including some from our fans on social media—out of a hat to ask each other. This is one Hollywood power couple you can believe in.
AMY POEHLER: OK, you ready, T?
TINA FEY: Yeah. [Draws question.] What would you tell the women of America if you got 30 seconds to sell them on why they should see Sisters over the holidays?
AP: Do you like Tina? Do you like me? Do you like when Tina and I do stuff together? Do you like us playing sisters? Go see Sisters.
TF: Uh-huh, that’s good.
AP: Yeah? OK, the end. [Draws question.] Tina, in Sisters you got the opportunity to play that rare “woman-child” [Fey’s character can’t hold down a job, is drawn to bad boys, and hasn’t quite grown out of her party-girl ways]. Do you wish that more women would be allowed to not have it all together on-screen?
TF: Woman-child, I think, is in reference to the fact that there are many male comedians who play man-childs—man-childs is a word. I do think it’s fun to be able to play a character that’s in no way aspirational and in no way a role model, and the more female characters there are on-screen, there’s less pressure on every character to represent everyone. I love playing people who are flawed.
AP: [Draws a question.] @marlysnicolosi on Instagram asked, “What’s the funniest thing that happened when you were working together on Sisters?” She asked on Instagram, Tina. You can ask a question now on a site where there’s pictures.
TF: Instagram owns that question now—so. I’m sure it was something Paula [Pell, Sisters screenwriter and SNL writer] did.
AP: Paula probably put a rainbow wig down her pants and pretended she had dyed her pubic hair. [Laughs.]
TF: She definitely did do that.
AP: [Draws question.] Tina, there was a joke in that “Last F–kable Day” sketch you did on Inside Amy Schumer that [as an actress you know] you’ve passed your last f–kable day when all they have on set for you to wear is sweaters that cover you head-to-toe. But in Sisters you wear a sexy party [outfit]. Did you wanna push back against the stereotype that fortysomething women can’t dress sexy?
TF: No, well, my character is someone who’s gonna dress like that into her eighties.
AP: Of course women in their forties can dress sexy. And, you know, the term sexy is very subjective.
TF: Yeah, I do also think that by the time you are in your forties, what you want to wear and what you think is sexy is not always, like, for another person. It’s what makes you feel good…. Sexy is all relative. As an SNL writer I have seen people who are famously sexy, women famous for being beautiful, come in as hosts. The male writers would be so excited; then a couple days in, they are over it. If you know you have 0.000 shot at the person, your body kind of shuts down—and it’s more about who you actually relate to.
AP: Wouldn’t it be amazing if you spent one day not mentioning how anybody looks, or how you look? I think I tried it as an exercise one time. I was saying, “Oh, she’s that really funny person.” Or, “He’s that guy who has that great science mind,” so you don’t say, like, “He’s the tall one”; “She’s whatever.” And then, if you look in the mirror, you don’t say, “How do I look?” It’s almost impossible.
TF: [Picks a question.] Glamour Facebook follower Barbara Kam asks: “Can you describe what working with your best friend is like?”
AP: Very easy, very, very easy. There’s usually this moment at the beginning of a film when you have to go out for dinner and talk to the person and be like, “How do you like to work?”
TF: Yeah, and sometimes that goes on for weeks.
AP: We didn’t have to do any of that when we first started Sisters.
TF: Yeah, usually, you have to have sex with them—
AP: You have sex with them to see if there’s chemistry, then you stalk them for a while. Then you get them fired, the usual stuff. [Laughs.]
TF: [Singing, as she rifles through hat.] Dah dah dee, dah dah dum, trying to find a juicy one! [Pulls out a question.] What do you consider the biggest breakthrough moment in your career?
AP: Probably saying my name on SNL. I remember when we did “Update,” Lorne [Michaels, the creator of SNL] saying, “Once you say your name, it’s going to change.” That and winning the Eurovision Song Contest—
TF: You won that two years in a row. [Pulls out a question.] OK, *Glamour’*s Instagram follower @formerly_flores asks, “What is the life accomplishment you are most proud of and why?”
AP: Why don’t I tell you what I think is one of your accomplishments and you tell mine? I feel weird talking about my own. I think one of yourgreatest accomplishments was transitioning from the captain you were at SNL to creating a show [30 Rock]. That is so hard—extricating yourself from a place you were so comfortable and successful, then doing something else so well. That, and the fact that you invented the word flerm.
TF: [Laughs.] It’s hard [to graduate from SNL]. You have so much autonomy at SNL. So for people who come out of there…it’s only natural that you would want to take the plunge [to create a show]…to try to keep making something that you have a say in.
AP: You can frame [a transition like that] two different ways. You can think, Oh my God, what’s next? with a fearful sense of what’s around the corner. Or, Oh my God, what’s next? Isn’t that exciting? I didn’t have any kind of map as to what my life was going to be. So the idea that here we are in our forties—I wouldn’t even be able to predict what’s ahead. So maybe [the key to new challenges is] a bit of improv training, denial, enthusiasm—and having a nice place to land, where you feel supported if it all goes to sh-t, which feels like it’s about a year away. [Laughs.]
TF: I would say that one of your greatest accomplishments, Amy Poehler, is that you have so successfully used your art and comedy as a source of positivity in the world, by creating Smart Girls [an online community for girls, encouraging them to be their authentic selves], by making [Leslie in] Parks and Rec not only a positive feminist character but creating a good-hearted worldview within that program.
AP: Thank you. Please note that as we talk to each other, we’re holding hands and we’re touching feet. We’re very close.__
TF: [Draws question.] If you were to do a commercial similar to “Mom Jeans” now, what would it be? Well, granny panties are back. Maybe one called, like, “Granny Panties for Him,” and it’s a man wearing really high granny panties? “Granny Panties Pour Homme!” [Draws question.] What was your favorite experience working with each other? Oh, I know mine—
AP: Please, you go.
TF: Mine is doing those first Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton sketches together. ‘Cause it felt like a culmination of years of prep that we didn’t realize was years of prep.
AP: Oh, well said. Yeah, prepared readiness.
TF: [Draws question.] Looking back on the three back-to-back Golden Globes—what were your favorite moments?
AP: Tina, you had that great George Clooney Gravity joke. [“Gravity is nominated for best film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”]
TF: That was written by a man named Alex Baze. Men write our jokes. Men can be whatever they want to be these days.
AP: Yeah, they really can. Men can be funny! But honestly, the best part was getting to hang out together, building the show together—
TF: —sitting on Bono’s lap.
__AP:__Making out with Bono, sitting on Clooney’s lap, doing both after the show was over, it was great, stuff like that. [Draws question.] This question is pretty serious: What’s the most important time you’ve been there for each other? Well, a lot of people don’t know I delivered both of your babies.
TF: You delivered both my babies. I wasn’t ready, and Amy was like, “They’re coming out today.” And I was like, “You’re not a doctor.” And she’s like, “We need to get this done.”
AP: ‘Cause I had a thing coming up on the weekend.
TF: So Amy delivered both my babies. She gave me a weird herbal tea and then the babies came out. So that one. [Laughs.]
AP: [Drawing question.] Tina, I didn’t know this: You’re celebrating your fifteenth wedding anniversary with your husband, Jeff, next June. Wait, this might be from Jeff; he wants to remind you. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself on your wedding day for making it through those 15 years?
TF: If I could give myself advice on my wedding day, it would be, “Hunker down, September 11 is coming.” Because I got married in June of 2001. [Pauses.] Any other advice? I don’t know, maybe for a second I would maybe say, like, “Start having babies earlier so that you could have maybe had one more,” because I do like how they come out. But at the same time, that would have probably made it hard for me to do some things that I wanted to do in that time.
AP: I knew Jeff in Chicago. What’s rare is that [the two of you] have such a good sense of humor about each other, and have always been genuine fans of each other’s skills and work.
TF: That’s true, I am a big Jeff Richmond fan.
AP: Yes, and all you want for your friend is for them to be themselves around whoever they’re with. [Draws question.] When Merrill Markoe interviewed you both for Glamour in 2005, she asked, “Any sex tips?” And [you] said, “Make sure you don’t laugh,” and [I] said, “Try not to barf.” Would you stand by or amend those tips?
TF: I would say go ahead and laugh.
AP: I think I’d say go ahead and barf. [Laughs.]
TF: You know, anything that’s, like, a surprise! Shake it up. Barf a little bit. Laugh until you barf. [Laughs.]
AP: [Draws question.] OK, what’s your secret to maintaining your 20-some-year friendship?
TF: We don’t see each other very often.
AP: That’s right. [Laughs.] It’s like a good marriage. My mom always says it’s very important to have people in your life who knew you when. The older you get, the more you treasure that idea of someone knowing your family and where you came from, and being around during thesetimes and these times. Tina and I, we don’t have any sisters. So we’ve rented them.
TF: [Laughs.] We found sisters.