In the last quarter of 2015 I took a break from reading fantasy books and read three autobiographies from funny female comedians. One More Time, by Carol Burnett, Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
I actually read Yes Please at first because it seemed like a companion book to Bossypants. (Here‘s a link to my review of that.) But I loved it for itself in the end.
Fey and Poehler get compaired a lot. They work together a lot, had similar upbringings, and similar career arches. Personally, I have always been a bigger fan of Fey. 30 Rock is one of my favorite shows, and I like seeing someone be mean to people who deserve it. The woman is my hero.
But the better part of me wants to be like Amy Poehler. I love Poehler as a person. Her entire outlook on life is one that I think we should all aspire to. Here are the lessons I took away from Yes, Please.
- Insist upon being who you are, but don’t be a jerk about it. That’s right there in the title.
- Don’t worry too much about people patting you on the back for your work. Just keep working. In her words, don’t want the pudding.
- It’s okay to not have a plan. That was something that threw me about the book at first. It’s not in any sort of order. She flips back and forth from her child, to early days in improve, to stories from SNL, to Parks and Rec. It was confusing, but very entertaining.
- Sometimes you’ve got to suck it up and deal with it. She spent a lot of time starting out living in crappy houses and working crappy jobs so that she could have enough time to devote to her craft.
- Pay it forward! Poehler and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade has a whole improv school, teaching a new generation of comedians. How cool is that?
- Keep your shitty opinions of someone to yourself. I’m going to tiptoe around this, but at one point Poelher was married to another comedian I love, Will Arnett. You know what? She doesn’t have a bad word to say about him. Or if she does, she doesn’t say it out loud. If we ever needed a reminder that it is possible to get divorced and not become an asshole to someone you used to love enough to make a life with, she’s it.
- Be honest, though. She does say in her book that she suffered from depression. I’m always saying that when people are honest about mental disease, it makes it easier for others to be honest.
- If you have kids, put them first. Reading this book, you can tell that Poelher loves her kids more than anything else. She works hard, but she puts those boys first.
- Apologize if you feel like you should. There was an incident, you can read about it in the book, where an SNL joke got some people pissed off at her. She didn’t write the joke, and didn’t even realize how it might offend anyone at the time, but she still got blamed for it. Personally, I don’t think that warrants an apology on her part, but she felt like it did. Ans she waited to long to give it, in her opinion.
I highly advise Yes, Please. I had a lot of fun reading it, and I think you will to.
What did you think of Yes,Please? Let us know in the comments below.