Amy Poehler named Glamour Woman of the YearMar 3, 2015
She is a Woman of the Year because: "She's a firecracker. She has an explosive amount of energy and just lights up a room. She is an inspiration to young women to get into comedy. And she can fly." -Tina Fey, comedian and 2002 Woman of the Year
"When you're short and blond and a woman in comedy, you get underestimated," says Amy Poehler, 38. "I love being underestimated." But who'd do that after the run she's been on? A star player on the team that restored Saturday Night Live to water-cooler dominance in 2008 (even Hillary Clinton adored her Hillary Clinton impersonation), she left the show, had a baby and emerged in 2009 as the star and producer of NBC's Parks and Recreation. Her alter ego on Parks, Leslie Knope, "has no cool, no cynical skills," she says - in other words, the kind of lovable loser a comedian needs a double scoop of bravery to play. "Amy is fearless in front of the camera," says SNL's Kristen Wiig. "Her confidence draws the audience in, and soon they're laughing their asses off." Poehler's comedy, though, is part of a stealth mission to empower young women. "She wants girls to feel they can do anything," says costar Rashida Jones. So Poehler plays a feisty 10-year-old on her cartoon series, The Mighty B!, and hosts a Web show, Smart Girls at the Party. At the end of each episode, Poehler and her preteen guests bust a move. "Being silly is how you get your power," she says. "No one looks stupid when they're having fun."
Donald Glover majors in laughs on NBC's CommunityMar 3, 2015
Donald Glover quit his job as a writer on NBC's 30 Rock in the spring to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian and actor.
"For a second there, I thought, 'This is the worst decision I ever made. I cant believe I left this great show to do stand-up,'" Glover said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.
He didn't have to worry for long. Almost immediately he heard from producers Joe and Anthony Russo, who had seen the independent movie Mystery Team, which Glover starred in, co-wrote, produced and scored.
They wanted him to audition for the role of Troy, the former high school football star, in the NBC comedy Community (Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC). Glover got the job.
The Atlanta native is accustomed to things falling into place for him. Just before he graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he landed a job as a writer on 30 Rock. Producers had heard about him through his work with the sketch comedy group the Upright Citizens Brigade and e-mailed him that they were looking for writers.
"It could have been a fake e-mail," he said. "Who gets an e-mail out of nowhere like that?"
There "is this weird thing where comedians are all about struggle," he said. "A lot of my stand-up is around my childhood, which was my most turbulent time in my life, where I felt really alone and stuff. But as far as my career, it's been pretty smooth sailing. I can't really complain. I've been extremely fortunate."
His mother enrolled him in Atlanta's performing arts high school to keep him out of trouble.
"I think she thought, 'He'll do ballet that will keep him away from drugs,'" he said. "When I first started there, I really hated it, but it really did change my life."
He looked to Smash Williams on the series Friday Night Lights to tap into playing Troy.
"Smash thinks he's awesome. He talks in the third person, so I kind of based it half on him and half on my little brother who is a football guy," he said.
Glover, who recently taped a stand-up comedy special for Comedy Central, described working with co-star Chevy Chase as surreal.
"I always think, 'This better be funny because Chevy Chase is watching,'" he said. "But I think I got a lot of that out of my system at 30 Rock because I was always working with Tina (Fey), and I was always so enthralled with all the things that she did and how amazing she was. You just realize, they're so accomplished, but you're all doing the same stuff. You're trying to make the best product and make the funniest stuff happen."