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September 2, 2015

What's with the Fey and Poehler hate?

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 29th 2008 12:25PM
Fey and PoehlerI'm not here to argue for or against the comedic talents of current box-office champs Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. No, what I'm here to ask is: why do people dislike them so much? I'm not talking about people who just say that the two of them aren't funny; I'm talking about people who think that the two of them were the worst thing to happen to SNL, the comedy genre, and the entertainment world in general.

Case in point: this somewhat obtuse essay praising Poehler on Slate.com. In the process of reviewing Poehler's cartoon, The Mighty B!, writer Troy Patterson goes through some verbal gymnastics, like calling the ASSSCAT show she puts on at the UCB Theater "a Dadaist party trick," among other head-scratching terms. But what's interesting is the virulent reaction his review gets in the comments section.

Besides the commenters complaining about Patterson's densely-worded review, we got gems about Poehler, like this one: "maybe it is just me, but Amy Poehler is not funny. Amy Poehler has never been funny. Watching Amy Poehler on SNL (or movies with former SNL cast members) is the equivalent of hearing nails on chalkboard." Another said, "Why anyone would back a movie built around her and Tina Fey, when the two of them have been largely responsible for the most dismal period in the history of SNL (exceeding even the Anthony Michael Hall years of the 1980s, which is saying a lot) is beyond me."

And it doesn't stop there. Under Slate's review of Baby Mama, commenters called Poehler "unattractive" and "thin-lipped but rather plain-looking."

Wow. Even Dane Cook and Larry the Cable Guy don't generate such extreme reactions. To be fair, a number of the commenters here and on other sites (even Slate) like both women and enjoy their work. But it seems like the exposure that these two women are enjoying right now rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

Is the reaction happening because they're women? It makes me wonder.

Please, if anyone can enlighten me in the comments, please do so.

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I don't hate Tina Fey but I have news: She's not funny; not as an actresses and certainly not as a writer. I've come to the conclusion that people that enjoyed her days at the helm of SNL and now 30 Rock just have a sense of humor that requires a joke to be told and retold until it's lost all its humor and still retold over and over again. It's one thing to nudge and wink during a joke but her style kills it in ten seconds like that friend who can't let a joke die weeks after the laughter has eroded.

Poehler is great but her new cartoon isn't so great.

April 30 2008 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The actual comedy world -- meaning comedians and comedy nerds -- seem to be supporting both Tina and Amy for the most part. aspecialthing.com, a great comedy forum/website that is mostly frequented by comedy performers, writers, and hardcore fans, has mainly positive reviews and comments for "Baby Mama", and generally nice things to say about both comediennes.

I find Tina Fey a funnier writer than performer, but I certainly think she's got decent performance chops, too. Amy is a really funny, "over-the-top"-style performer -- to some, that might not be very funny.

They both come from the Second City/Improv Olympic world, and I understand that this kind of thing isn't everyone's cup of tea. But the 90s era of Second City and iO produced tons of great comedy performers besides Fey/Poehler, including Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Amy Sediaris, Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock"), Jason Sudeikis ("SNL", "30 Rock"), Neil Flynn ("Scrubs"), Adam McKay, Andy Richter, and Angela Kinsey ("The Office"), amongst others. If your kind of comedy is more (current) Jay Leno and Larry the Cable Guy, then I can understand not digging these people and their work.

April 29 2008 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tina's OK (30Rock is great)
Amy's Ok
It was Rachel Drach that made it work for me. I liked Amy on the UCB as well, it just seems that someone (tina?) decided to go with the blond (amy) as opposed to the funny (rachel) Imagine Baby Mama with Rachel instead.

and Rachel, don't dye your hair. Keep it Real, Girl!

April 29 2008 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fey & Poehler: love 'em both.

April 29 2008 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Tina/Amy years at Weekend Update were the BEST EVER! I'm a huge fan of both. Amy is the reason I watch SNL, and 30 is one of the TWO sitcoms that I like to watch! I hope to see more of them for years to come.

April 29 2008 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

poehler was MUCH funnier when UCB was on the air - she worked well as an ensemble member with specific characters instead of trying too hard like she does on WU.

there's a constant cycle of peaks and valleys for any show that's over 30 years old, but SNL has devolved overall, and the comedy seems so forced now - like the writing is so bad the performer has to do something silly, get a laugh, and then repeat it AD NAUSEUM until the laughter becomes a thin whisp of its former self (then again, they've been doing that for years)...or be intentionally 'weird' (andy samberg, i'm talking to you) - it's not avant garde or metacomedy, it's just dumb.

April 29 2008 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's called gyno-phobia.

Uh huh.

April 29 2008 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The bits and pieces of Poehler I have seen in films I have liked. I love 30 Rock. I lurve it, I have two copies of the dvd set. I thought it was going to suck based on my experiences with SNL. Of course SNL is still rubbish without Fey, I don't think any one person is responsible for SNL sucking - it just does.

April 29 2008 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Comedy Nerds.

They're out there, and this is what they do.

April 29 2008 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Poehler is funny but Fey is funny and dirty. Bingo!

April 29 2008 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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