Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have been comedy giants and close friends for decades, from early improv years in Chicago to Saturday Night Live to their successes in film and television to their memorable turns as awards show hosts. As costars, they’ve been hilarious; as friends, they’re an inspiring model of sticking together and supporting each other through career challenges and raising families.
Fey and Poehler will join AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins live on March 24 as part of AARP’s three-day AARP Celebrates You! virtual festival to talk about their lives as friends (find out how to join the free event here).
Meanwhile, here are the 10 top lessons we’ve learned from this hilarious, remarkable pair of friends.
1. Being willing to work together can lead to great things
Fey and Poehler met nearly 30 years ago, in 1993. At the time, the two were cutting their teeth in Chicago’s improvisational comedy underworld. Then one fateful day, Charna Halpern, a key figure in the world of improv, thought they should meet and introduced them. According to Poehler’s book, Yes Please, Halpern told her that there was another new improviser, named Tina, who “was like me but with brown hair.” The connection was instant, and they began performing together at Chicago’s ImprovOlympic. One of their early sketches was about two policewomen, named Powderkeg and Shortfuse. Soon they would both be accepted at the legendary Second City.
2. Look for ways to reconnect even after years apart
Over the next few years, the women’s paths would diverge and then reconnect as they continued to pay their dues trying to rise through the male-dominated world of sketch comedy. In 1996, Poehler would head to New York with her improv troupe, the Upright Citizens Brigade. A year later, Fey joined her in New York when she was hired by Lorne Michaels as a writer on Saturday Night Live. In their off-hours, the two would find time to perform on stage together. It was the best kind of work: the kind that doesn’t feel like work.