Getting her start in a comedy team called "My Mother's Fleabag" while studying at Boston College, the frantically energized Amy Poehler has become an improv queen of sorts on the comedy circuit. After graduation, Poehler got involved with Second City and ImprovOlympic in Chicago, where she worked with improv guru Del Close and began touring. After joining up with the sketch comedy group The Upright Citizens Brigade, she moved to New York City with them in 1996. The group had a show on Comedy Central for three seasons and opened their own theater in New York. Her big mainstream breakthrough came in January 2002, when she was promoted from featured player to member of the repertory cast of Saturday Night Live. Two of her most well-known SNL characters have been the one-legged dating show contestant and the combative trailer-park wife. Her other television appearances included reoccurring characters on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and Undeclared. On the big screen, she seemed to make an impression despite her small roles. In Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, she played a Tourette's Syndrome sufferer, and in Wet Hot American Summer she was a snobby drama club leader. After appearing in the feature Martin & Orloff with the other members of the Upright Citizens Brigade, she would star with Jack Black and Ben Stiller in Envy in 2004, the same year that she memorably portrayed a wannabe hip mom in the Tina Fey-penned comedy Mean Girls.
The following few years found Poehler skillfully balancing her small-screen career with her feature aspirations, and whether she was sitting at the "Weekend Update" desk, playing the wife of real-life husband Will Arnett on Arrested Development, or waiting tables in Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, the increasingly busy actress/comedian could always be counted on for a few hearty laughs. Additional appearances in both the kiddie-friendly Spongebob Squarepants and the terrifyingly hilarious Wonder Showzen during this period in her career would offer hilarious proof of Poehler's crafty ability to alternate between subversive adult material and harmless kid cartoons with an ease that no doubt helped to make her a hit with audiences young and old alike. Despite substantial appearances in (Donnie Darko director) Richard Kelly's eagerly anticipated sophomore feature Southland Tales and Alec Baldwin's remake Shortcut to Happiness going largely unseen when both films languished without a release date for far longer than anyone would have anticipated, fans in need of a Poehler feature fix would find little cause to complain as the actress turned up in The Ex, Blades of Glory -- again opposite husband Arnett -- and Shrek the Third in 2007. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi