The Emmy nominations were announced today (by Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy, who was also nominated, and seems to be having quite the year!). I was thrilled to see that Amy Poehler was nominated for her work on Parks and Rec, where she plays an unabashed feminist by the name of Leslie Knope. When asked about her inspiration for the character, Poehler has described her as “part Girl Scout, part pioneer,” and said that Knope has “a very suffragette spirit.”
It’s also exciting to see Poehler nominated alongside Tina Fey, her close friend, former colleague on Saturday Night Live and fellow feminist comedy lady person. One of the greatest things about Fey’s book, Bossypants, is the way she writes about Poehler, which is with enormous respect and affection. One chapter is called “One in a Series of Love Letters to Amy Poehler.” In one scene in that chapter, Fey recalls a day when she, Poehler, and a bunch of other performers were in the SNL writer’s room and Poehler was joking around.
Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and ‘unladylike.’
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, ‘Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.’ Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. ‘I don’t fucking care if you like it.’ Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit. I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them. (Insert penis joke here.)
With that exchange, a comic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.
Fey writes that she remembers thinking, at that moment, “My friend is here, my friend is here!”
And now, both those friends are on the list of nominees for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Congratulations to Poehler (congrats to Fey too, but let’s be real, that lady has plenty of Emmys already). And now, here’s one of my favorite Leslie Knope moments, in which she mercilessly mocks sexism by running through a litany of gendered excuses for why she accidentally shot someone in the head.