George Clooney

Book Review: "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler

Yes PleaseI’m going to be honest. I sat down to write this review about 45 minutes ago, and have been online watching clips of Amy Poehler ever since. I can’t help myself—she’s addicting. Aside from being one of the most talented comedians to ever grace the earth with her presence, she’s also an entrepreneur who co-founded the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater; a mother of two; an actress, writer, producer, and director; an inspirational YouTube success; and now, an author. And her book is good. Really good. So good, in fact, that I sat for an entire day—eight hours—reading it and doing nothing else. My butt went numb in the process, and I had to sleep on my stomach that night to re-inflate it, but the experience was worth it because I got a glimpse into the genius mind of comedy goddess Amy Poehler. Amy PoehlerYes Please is Poehler’s 329-page memoir, filled with glossy pictures from her youth (and also glossy pictures not from her youth; see photo on left), on-point observations she’s made about life, such as “Doing sketch comedy on live television while pregnant is like wearing a sombrero; you can pretend to be a serious person but the giant hat gives you away,” and deep life truths, including “It’s important to know when it’s time to turn in your kazoo.” She approaches her story non-linearly, jumping within chapters from topics as varied as divorce and childbirth to stories about professing her love to Ashton Kutcher and sitting on George Clooney’s lap at the 2013 Golden Globes. Although sporadic at times, Poehler’s refusal to stick to a sequential timeline give her vignettes a more realistic, conversational flow; it is as if she is sitting in front of you and dishing about her life, skipping from story to story as certain memories bring to mind others.

For the most part, Poehler is candid about her life. She openly discusses her recreational drug use in a chapter entitled, “Obligatory Drug Stories, and Lessons I Learned on Mushrooms,” freely discusses her reliance on nannies in “Every Mother Needs a Wife,” and offers her “World Famous Sex Advice” in a chapter under the same title. She does, however, shy away from the details of her divorce from Will Arnett, admitting it is “too sad and too personal.”

Fleeting mentions of the divorce do appear numerous times throughout her writing and show a side of Poehler that I wasn’t quite expecting. Even though her memoir’s pages are glossy, I never expected Poehler to gloss over the gritty parts of her life. I did, however, expect her darker recollections to be coated in classic Poehler comedy. Instead, certain vignettes showcase a very real, very vulnerable Amy Poehler sans much humor. For instance, the chapter “Bad Sleeper” underscores Poehler’s struggles with anxiety and exhaustion, “Sorry Sorry Sorry” offers an apology for an offensive Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch she performed, and “My Boys” addresses both a perspective-altering trip she took to Haiti and the challenges of motherhood. I found “I’m So Proud of You” to be one of the most interesting chapters, as it tackles the difficulties faced by women in a male-dominated industry. While all of Poehler’s seriousness was initially unexpected, her displays of vulnerability made me fall even more in love with her; she can turn on the comedy and charm one minute and then switch to a serious, no-nonsense attitude the next. This was enlightening to see, and, while immersing myself in Poehler’s stories, I came to view her more as a person and less as an untouchable Hollywood entity.

As a crazy SNL fanatic, my favorite part of Yes Please is the chapter Poehler devotes to her favorite SNL memories. I wish she had written more about her seven years on the show, because “Humping Justin Timberlake” is chock-full of hilarious anecdotes. Among the many entertaining tales, she recollects doodling explicit images with Will Forte during an NBC sexual harassment meeting and breaking character while shooting “Debbie Downer.” I couldn’t stop laughing as I read this chapter and could totally feel the spirit of Lorne Michaels in these pages. It was great.

I so recommend Yes Please. Whether you’re searching for answers to the meaning of life, wanting to experience the human condition through the eyes of a blonde Bostonian comedian, or just trying to get the scoop on this Seth Meyers guy, this book is for you. And, after you’ve finished, I suggest you hop onto YouTube and watch every single Amy Poehler clip, because by the time you’re done reading Yes Please, you’ll feel like she’s your new best friend.

** Fun Fact: I had the opportunity to attend one of Amy Poehler’s book publicity events in New York this summer, and she used these to encourage people to buy her book:

Yes Please fortune cookie

YES. THAT IS A PINK FORTUNE COOKIE. This is just once again proof that Amy Poehler is a genius.

Chelsea is a Level 5 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

#Ashtag Week 13: Into the Woods with a Full Moon and Some Lace

I bet this lady is celebrating a 13th anniversary. Thirteen. Spooky. According to Hallmark's website, the traditional gift for a 13th anniversary is lace. Sexy. Also according to Hallmark, the modern gift for a 13th anniversary is "textile furs." I put "textile furs" in quotations, because it was a question-inducing pair of words to me. I searched this phrase on Google to find out more. Immediately, 13th anniversaries popped up on the top results, even though I didn't include anniversary in my "textile fur" search. Most of the results did include the backslash; "textile/fur" which makes more sense to me.

I found myself on http://www.anniversarygift.org/thirteenth-anniversary-gifts/. Instead of me sharing all of the knowledge that I gained on this site, I really would like to encourage you to read "the celebration" suggestions at the bottom of the page. Suffice it to say, to celebrate our 13th week together, we're gonna need a lot of lace, some fake fur, Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock house, and a full moon.

OK. Everybody take a deep breath. We got a little bit too caught up in the whirlwind of textile fur. Let's focus. The Internet has been churning all week, and we need to learn what floated to the top (there are inaccuracies in this dairy analogy). Sports have littered the top searches on Google. No thank you. Ebola. We know. Again, no thank you.

Taylor Swift's new single "Out of the Woods" is a top search because the song is about her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles. A reluctant yes please. This is the kind of juice we need to learn about. The song very quickly popped to No. 1 on iTunes, but Harry refuses to react to it. Harry Styles is a member of One Direction. Ke$ha has made some very serious accusations about her producer that I don't want to make light of here. But good for her for getting help. Zach Galifinakis has lost a lot of weight. Penelope Cruz is Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive.

I'd like to register for this as my gift this week.

Well, alright, I just burned through the top Google searches pretty quickly. Let's keep truckin'. One of the top hashtags on Twitter this week is #PSAT. This hashtag is literally about the pre-SATs and teenagers' concerns about taking them. There are a lot of pics with sad faces and actually a few with kids burning their study guides. There are a few older people sprinkling in about how the PSATs are nothing compared to the SATs. My favorite tweet of the #PSAT persuasion is from a kid who basically tells everyone to get serious, because there are a lot of scholarship opportunities available if you score high on the PSATs. I hope those darn kids using the hashtag to look for funny pictures heed his advice.

One of the most viewed videos on YouTube this week, with nearly six million views, is the trailer for Tomorrowland. A movie based on the futuristic area of Disney theme parks. Pirates of the Caribbean was a movie based on a ride, and it did pretty well. The trailer for Tomorrowland looks pretty neat, and George Clooney is in it. It comes out on my mom's birthday, May 22. Jot that down and maybe send her a card or a picture of George Clooney. She'd like that.

I do have some pretty big news. I was recently given a bodyguard and a personal assistant in the Kardashian game. In real life (or IRL, as the kiddos would type it), I've been caught playing this game a few times by friends. And they have all given me some sort of grief about it. I would like to say that I've never picked the game over listening to someone. I don't play while I drive, unless I'm at a stoplight and I have full energy that needs to be used. I play this game for you guys. You come back every week waiting for an update. I do it for you. #imgoingthedistancebcusnobodyknowshowthiswillendandimayplayforever

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She’s a graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and is currently a level 3 sketch writing student. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.

What We're Loving: Happy 238th Birthday, America!

Each week, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week we're changing it up. We asked some of our blog contributors to share what they love about The Fourth of July. Here's what they had to say:  59429_10There’s not a lot of space to be genuine on a comedy theater’s blog. But this week, I’m going to skip all of that other bull shit because it’s July 4th and America, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, ain’t nothin’ to f*** with. Every Fourth of July, I go out of my way to watch Ray Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” taken from The Dick Cavett Show. I love this video because it perfectly showcases the timeless voice of Mr. Charles. I love this video because of the unique verse that Ray sings for the first half of the performance. I love this video because it reminds me of The Sandlot. The simple, understated beauty of this performance can’t be topped and if I see you this weekend, we should share some earbuds and give it a listen. - David Allison

enhanced-buzz-20909-1349299472-15I love that, on July 4th, baseball is on TV all day long!!! I can watch gigantic Thomas Jefferson and George Washington mascots have a foot race in DC by morning, see the Cubs choke and lose another one at lunch, and spy Jackie and Kelso kissing at a Dodgers game in the evening. It makes me feel so American. Turning our presidents into comical figures, embracing lovable losers, and drooling over celebrities canoodling is just so us, isn’t it? And, I get to enjoy it all while wearing my red, white, and blue Texas Rangers jersey. God bless America! God bless America’s pastime! - Glenn Smith urlI remember when what I loved about July 4th was the release of Will Smith movies.  That’s right -  I even spent money on Wild Wild West.  I was 17.  I had worked my first job, earned my own money, and made sure I got the day off to spend some of that money on watching the Fresh Prince battle a dude with half a body (but a whole of racism) on a giant mechanical spider in the Old West. I’ve grown up since then and now, the thing I love about July 4th is holiday pay.  I will get paid double time working this Friday!  I will spend some of that money on getting to the Oklahoma City Improv Festival to perform with my troupe...because Dairy Based is something I love year round. - Julia Cotton

Screenshot_2014-07-02-13-24-37-1Freedom, Family, Fireworks, and Food - These are the ingredients to a great 4th of July. I could write a book about the things that make the holiday great. For now I will focus on the single most important thing I’m lovin’ this holiday weekend: THE GREAT AMERICAN SLAMDOG. It’s a food as versatile and diverse as this great nation. For those uninitiated, The Great American Slamdog is a traditional Hot Dog – made the way you like it – wrapped in a great big slice of pizza. I can’t think of anything more American. Get one! It’s what America wants you to do! - Tommy Lee Brown

idesofmarchThe fourth of July has never been a super important holiday for me. I mean, it's no May 6th (George Clooney's birthday), but I do enjoy it. I like the fireworks, the music, having a day off and actually spending it with friends and family instead of in a four hour marathon nap after watching the third season of 30 Rock for the 1776th time. My favorite fourth memory is probably from last year. I live close to Fair Park so I drove to a car wash parking lot that had a clear view of the fireworks, turned on some music and sat on the hood of my car and soaked it all in. It was a really nice moment in a really nice country. I mean, we're no George Clooney. - Sarah Wyatt

TallChickenBurgerI do my best to eat low-carb, low-calorie foods. It's how I maintain my svelte figure and teenage energy. And one of my newest food discoveries is the Original Brat Hans Jalapeno and Sharp Cheddar Chicken Burger. Let me run down some key highlights: No antibiotics, no added hormones, no preservatives, no MSG, no nitrates/nitrites added, gluten free, soy free, 150 calories/serving, and 1 gram of carbs. You can find these heavenly patties two to a package at Whole Foods. So, if you're looking for something healthier to cook on the grill this holiday, try these. The mixture of jalapeno and melted cheddar will have you thinking, "This is what America tastes like." - Jason Hensel

declaration_big_enhancedMost people don't know this, but I carry a copy of The Declaration of Independence with me everywhere I go. In my computer bag, right next to my passport, surrounded by pens, The Declaration sits, sharing the same little book with The Constitution. Every once in a while, when I need to be inspired, or reminded of how good we have it in this country, I open the book and read the start of the second paragraph: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Equality for all. A concept so important they had to out it down in writing. Sure, it wasn't actually true in 1776, and it remains untrue today, but progress moves slowly in our Great Experiment. It is only a matter of time until we achieve the full promise of our Founders. - Ryan Callahan