Former “Saturday Night Live” star Amy Poehler is bringing politics to the primetime comedy table.
Originally set up as an “Office” spin-off, during development of the show, creators Greg Daniels and Micheal Schur, took things in a different direction entirely.
“The idea we had was to have a group of people from a lot of different areas, citizens, people in a government, trying to work on a problem,” Michael explained at NBC’s TCA panel on Thursday. “And I think we thought it would be funny if that problem took a long time to solve.”
The comedy, based around ambitious Parks & Recreation head Leslie Snope, played by Amy, gives the veteran funny lady a chance to indulge in a role for longer than a few sketch comedy minutes.
“I was excited to be able to turn the volume down a little bit and sit with the character for a little while,” Amy said. “[On] ‘SNL’ the characters and scenes are a little transient… and I was really excited about working with these guys who are the best at what they do.”
Amy said her portrayal of the character, whom she hinted had lofty goals of making a career in politics – all the way to the White House — won’t be anything like her impressions of Hillary Rodham Clinton on “SNL.”
“Not in any way similar in how to play it certainly… I think that this character is well aware of Hillary in the way that she and many fellow politicians have paved the way and opened the door. She looks at her as a role model. Leslie, being the Deputy Chairwoman of Parks & Recreation, does not have [much in common] with Hillary.”
In fact, Amy said no female politicians are imbibed in the formation of her character. But as for Leslie, she loves them all.
“I think that Leslie, my character, looks to a lot of women in politics for inspiration and there’s so many now,” Amy said. “She looks at a lot of women in politics as her heroes.”
Former “Office” veteran Rashida Jones joins the cast as a concerned citizen, who goes to the Parks & Recreation over an issue and ends up sticking around and joining a committee. As she stays on, Rashida’s character finds herself pitted somewhat against the ambitious Leslie, who in at least one scene, ends up very, very drunk.
“There is an optimism and a certain amount of forgiveness because she’s helping me and we have the same goal in mind,” Rashida said of her character.
The show, filmed in an “Office” like mock-umentar style, debuts on April 9 at 8:30 PM, but if you’re looking to see Amy back on Saturday night’s at 11:35 PM on “SNL,” it may be a while.
“I think that’s done, yeah,” Amy said when asked if she might ever return as a cast member. “I think there’s so many talented people there who want to get their stuff on, but certainly that show is always a place you can return to and kind of stop by, but I don’t think that will be happening any time soon.”
She did, however, admit she was touched by “SNL’s” tribute when she gave birth to her first child, Archie, in October 2008.
“Uncontrollable sobbing” Amy said of her response to their moving moment.
And, she watched the episode after popping her little one out.
“He was conveniently born at 6 PM so I was able to watch the live show,” she added.