“Hey! How’s it going? The last time you were here Rashida was in her cowgirl outfit, right? I always remember the good times,” Amy Poehler laughed. As always, she was in an especially giving mood when Vulture visited the set of Parks and Recreation last week. (Look for our story about the upcoming sixth season soon, but in brief: Leslie’s not getting recalled from office without a fight!) So we took the opportunity to ask about her role in the new Anchorman movie and her plan to keep Rashida Jones on the show, and — the most burning of questions — what she looks for in a best friend.
Many people want to be your best friend.
My best friend? [laughs] What a horrible thing to say about someone!
What do you look for in a best friend?
The things that everyone should look for: money, connections, power, sexiness, thick hair, fast cars, a sweet-ass booty, and a desire to travel. All those things.
I haven’t been able to find one person that meets that criteria. And I need someone who not only can work it but twerk it, and if you don’t know the difference, beat it. I was thinking today that I don’t think enough people are talking about how hard-twerking mothers work. Or how hard it is to be a twerking mother these days.
It’s tough! I really like how fast words come and go now. That’s a fake word that’s going to be here for like two seconds and then it’s going to go away. Like the minute it’s in, it’s out. I feel like if I know it, it’s on its way out. That’s all I have to really say. And that’s another best friend criteria: They need to be able to know like all the fresh, hip words.
You’re in the new Anchorman. Who do you play?
You know, I got cut out of the first Anchorman. I was a young gal, hadn’t even got my teeth fixed, and I played a bank teller that Maya Rudolph and her gang robbed. I got into a fight. That was one of the coolest experiences because Adam McKay, who’s my friend and fellow UCB member, was directing. Even back then, I was like, “This movie is so long, I’m never going to make it in this.” [laughs]. I still feel that way. We’ll see if I actually make the cut.
They made a second movie out of the extra footage last time. The sequel came in just as long?
Well, because there are so many cameos. But it was super fun. Those guys are so great and so funny. Will Ferrell’s really the most talented person in the world. He’s like a comedy Olympian.
I think everyone would be really upset if you were cut again.
I was thinking for fun that I would put in my contract that if they cut me they’d really have to pay up.
Is it the same character as last time? She looks like someone new.
I don’t think I can spoil. But whatever it is, it’s an incredibly researched, in-depth character that I spent five to ten minutes thinking about before I did it. I got to go to Atlanta and hang with Paul Rudd and Will and [David] Koechner and [Steve] Carell. And Tina [Fey], of course. It was a blast.
Things are not going so well for Leslie this season on Parks and Recreation. The town wants to recall her from office!
I know! It’s been fun to play, because a lot of things are falling apart in a funny way. She might lose her job, Ann’s leaving …
I haven’t accepted that part yet.
No kidding. I’m not happy about that, but here’s the thing: Technically, Rashida is tied up in my trailer right now, and so technically, she’s not going to leave because I’m not going to let her. I’m going to pull a Misery on her. She ain’t going nowhere. I won’t break her ankles. I’ll just pinch her really hard if she moves.
I’m all for it.
But look, Ann and Rashida are never far from Pawnee, because I know where both of them live. No, I mean, frankly, it wasn’t the kind of thing that we were going to even announce. It was just like they were going to be doing less episodes. Which is really what it is! We took advantage of the story line of Chris and Ann having a baby to have Leslie have to deal with the fact that Ann’s moving out of Pawnee, which for her, is like jumping off the face of the earth. As Jean-Ralphio would say, “Your eyes are going to be pissing tears.”
You and Tina are part of the tribute to Carol Burnett, who’s getting this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. How big an influence was she on you?
Yeah. I was just texting with Tina about it. We were talking about it, how we were excited. Yeah. She’s really my number-one comedic influence. I just loved The Carol Burnett Show so much. I still love it and love her, and had the chance to meet her and interview her once. She just looked like a benevolent captain. She just looked like a person who ran that show and that she really loved everybody and everybody loved her. I just loved her coming out, getting to know who she was at the end of the thing, you know? She would take her wig off and take her fake eyebrows off. So that’s what I do every night, I take my eyebrows off.
Do you know what you’re going to do yet?
You just do like a five-minute speech. I did it for Tina when she won the the Mark Twain award. I think we’ll probably do the same thing. I have not thought about what to do yet, but I want to do something good. Or maybe I’ll just wing it. That’ll be the night I decide to try to tap. I’ll do a really slow, unrehearsed piece from Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.