Audio Review: YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler (Harper Collins/Audible)

PoehlerA-YesPleaseAn amusing, interesting idiosyncratic memoir

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous,Yes Please is full of words to live by.

I’m not actually too familiar with Poehler’s most famous work — save for a few SNL skits (mostly those with Tina Fey), Undeclared, and a couple of episodes of Parks & Recreation, I haven’t really seen much of what she’s done and been in. Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed what I have seen, so I was interested in listening to Yes Please. I was not disappointed: this is a fun, lively and welcoming memoir. It’s not linear, and Poehler jumps about a bit in her narrative, but it is always interesting and entertaining.

It made for a fun change to have some of Poehler’s friends along for the taping (recording would be more appropriate, but I do like the retro-feel of “taping”), and it added a nice bit of variety to the performance. At the same time, this did lead to a less-than-interesting level of in-jokes and giggling on occasion (despite this offering an endearing picture of how well Poehler gets on with people). It was also nice to have a live chapter at the end, only spoiled because the audience were a pain in the ass — laughing at things that weren’t funny, usually far out of proportion of the quality of joke: sometimes the laughter is uproarious for an innocuous comment, but near-absent for a genuinely funny aside, which suggested to me that the audience was populated by illiterate, humourless morons. Which is a pity, as what Poehler was saying was pretty funny.

If you are a fan of Poehler’s work, then this is a must-listen/-read. Clear production, excellent performances all around. This is a funny book, with a good number of more-serious moments when the author talks about her family (especially her kids) and is respectful and generous towards her friends and colleagues. It’s not difficult to see why she’s so popular among fans and professionals.

Definitely recommended.

There’s a website dedicated to the book, which is quite fun, and can be found here.

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