In an animated movie about an 11-year-old girl’s emotions, it’s fitting that Amy Poehlerlends her voice to Joy. The Inside Out star, 43, has been making people smile for years on TV’s Parks and Recreation and in movies like Mean Girls and Baby Mama.
Sitting down with the actress and author (she released her memoir, Yes Please, in 2014) at the Montage Hotel in Los Angeles, we found she’s as witty as fans would expect. Here, the mother to sons Archie, 6, and Abel, 4, reveals what makes her happiest.
You play the voice of Joy inside an 11-year-old’s head. What were you like at that age?
I feel almost the same in many ways. At that age, you have a pretty good sense of who you are. I was filled with a lot of anticipation and curiosity. I was all angles, elbows and possibility.
When did you last feel joyful?
An hour ago, just being around my family. My son is having a sleepover, so my two sons were in a bathtub and they made beards out of bubbles, so that was nice.
Have you seen Inside Out with an audience?
I just had a screening for my kids and their friends. My little guy is afraid of movies! So he still doesn’t want to go to a movie, but my six-yearold loved it. Just like The Little Mermaid showed us the bottom of the sea, Inside Out shows us inside our own heads, and I know my boys like that.
Making memories is also a theme in this movie. What are your top five career milestones?
I would say creating a theatre with the Upright Citizens Brigade, getting hired at Saturday Night Live, getting to play Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, sitting on George Clooney’s lap and then talking to George Clooney! He’s four and five. Winning a Golden Globe doesn’t make the cut? Yeah. [Laughs] Winning is subjective. What is winning?
What’s it like to have Hollywood’s best comedians in your circle of friends?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by the funniest people in the world. Tina Fey is my longest female relationship other than a few of my old childhood friends. We have been friends now for 20 years, so she is my chosen sister.
If your inner voices were the focus of a movie, what might the title be?
It would be called Polar Opposites and it would be a smash at the box office.