Interview: ‘Parks and Recreation’ star Amy Poehler on her Emmy nomination

Senior Television Writer
07.08.10 10 Comments


Amy Poehler has some comforting words for “Parks and Recreation” fans who wish that her co-star Nick Offerman and the mustache he wears as parks department boss Ron Effing Swanson had been nominated for an Emmy right along with her.

“A lot of people don’t know that there’s a separate Emmy for people’s mustaches,” Poehler told me a few hours after getting the good Emmy news. “Ron Swanson’s mustache will be the Tony Shalhoub of mustaches.”

More from Poehler after the jump…

Though Poehler had been nominated before for her work on “Saturday Night Live,” she wasn’t necessarily expecting a nod for “Parks and Rec,” whose only other nod this year was for the theme song (written, of course, by George Lucas and Jabba the Hutt).

“It was a tough category,” she said. “There’s a lot of really talented ladies, so I knew it would be a tough one. So I’m pleasantly surprised and very grateful.”

And it’s certainly great to see the warm and funny and versatile lead of the best comedy on television be nominated, but Poehler, like the rest of us, wishes she wasn’t the only one.

“I think we have the best ensemble in television, so I feel I’m just representing what I feel is the best cast on TV. Everyone’s name should have been up there, too, obviously. I think that what’s great is people are really responding to the show, and I hope that will be represented next season.”

(That next season may not air for a while, since NBC left “Parks and Rec” off the fall schedule, even after the show had stayed in production so episodes could be filmed before Poehler had to go on maternity leave with her second child later this summer. “I had the realization today,” she said, “that, ‘Wow, I’m going to be pregnant on TV for another year.’ But the episodes we shot I’m really happy with. I trust NBC in that they want to protect it and find a good home for it.”)

Once actors crack the nominations list, they get to choose an episode to submit for voters to consider when making their choice. Poehler is leaning towards “Telethon,” which is a fine comic showcase for her (and would probably duke it out with “Greg Pikitis” as my choice), “though I’m not sure if that’s presumptuous, since I wrote it. Or maybe I’m going to submit some sketches and photographs, so people can see a whole different side of me. I really don’t think the idea of visual aids in an Emmy submission has really been explored to its fullest.”

Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, spent one episode this year fixated on winning an award. How, I asked, would Leslie respond to winning an Emmy?

“I think she’d be really bad at managing the time of her speech,” said Poehler. “She’d practice and think she’d got down to 30 seconds, and the music would come up after she thanked Ron and maybe her mother. And she’d probably end up making Emmys for everyone else in the office and awkwardly having a weird presentation that happened on the weekend that nobody wanted to go to. And there might be a moment where she’d lose her purse, with her speech in it. She’s not too good with speeches. Whereas I am… oh boy, as you can tell from this interview, just amazing at them.”

So what does Poehler intend to do if she can upset past winners Toni Collette and her pal Tina Fey?

“I’m just going to quote Winston Churchill and then slam the microphone down. There’s a microphone, right? Or then I’m going to be like Marlon Brando and have an American Indian come and reject the award on behalf of the native people of the fictional town of Pawnee.”

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at

Around The Web