Amy Poehler promotes documentary during local visit | News, Sports, Jobs


Amy Poehler was at the National Comedy Center on Tuesday to discuss the documentary she made about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Photo PJ by Eric Tichy

Amy Poehler shared her love for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at the National Comedy Center during a special screening of “Lucy and Desi” a documentary she made.

On Tuesday night, she attended the private event and discussed the documentary which features a behind-the-scenes look at Ball and Arnaz and their rise to fame as a power couple in Hollywood. The documentary was produced by Amazon Studios.

Poehler said she looked at the beloved “I love Lucy” show at various times in his life.

“It was when I was younger when my grandmother watched it”, she says. “And then when I got older and started doing more comedy, I looked at him a little bit differently. I was always really blown away by his acting ability. Frankly, I just thought that “She was an amazing actress. It wasn’t until I was growing up that I really understood the breadth and depth and breadth of her empire, her impact, and Desi too. I think Lucy and Desi and the work they did together, like all good art, keeps coming back into your life in different ways.

Poehler said it was incredibly exciting to work on the film and “Be part of the Lucy and Desi story.”

Amy Poehler was in Jamestown on Tuesday to promote her new documentary, “Lucy and Desi,” at the National Comedy Center. PJ Photo by Katrina Fuller

“It’s been a really interesting experience to figure out how to creatively step into that world and say something about it,” she said, adding that she had learned a lot of surprising things along the way. “I think their early lives…were a mystery for a long time and they were definitely from a generation that didn’t talk a lot about this stuff. They were forward-thinking and forward-thinking. Every day was an experience of learning more about the people we were talking about.

Poehler said she was able to visit Jamestown over the past summer to do research and visit the National Comedy Center.

“Journey Gunderson and Laura LaPlaca were amazing and helped us educate ourselves because there is so much context and subtext needed to talk about this amazing life and career. I think you always have to make connections between the old and the new to try to make sense of things, so it was super instrumental.

Poehler said she enjoys visiting Jamestown, especially the Farmer’s Market.

When asked if she planned to work on similar projects, she joked that she was “going out.”

“I stay here,” Poehler burst out laughing. “We have a lot of stuff at Paper Kite, our production company. We do TV and film, and we have a ton of stuff we’re ready to release to the world all the time. We are very busy and very excited.

Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center, said Poehler was “fearless in its willingness to recognize that Lucy and Desi were not simple people with simple stories to tell.”

“His film has nuance and room for interpretation – just like their real life stories”, Gunderson said. “The film exemplifies the National Comedy Center’s raison d’être: we’re not here to hide the story under lock and key. We’re here to make sure artists, students, and storytellers have the raw materials they need to access and interpret the impacts of comedy. Amy visited us in Jamestown to learn more about the story of Lucy and Desi…and anyone interested in this art form is welcome to walk through our doors and do the same.

Gunderson said the center appreciates the care taken in presenting the archives, much of which came from the National Comedy Center. She said the center shares Poehler’s belief that stories like Ball’s can be more than “simply nostalgic.”

“They have a real impact today and we can still discuss them in the present,” she says. “It’s so fitting that Amy gave Lucille Ball this fresh and respectful take on her approach to acting as a craft.”

Ball was born in Jamestown and moved to New York in 1928. She worked as a model before eventually making her way to Hollywood.

Arnaz came to Miami from Cuba in 1933 and quickly found his calling as an artist.

The two met in 1940 on the set of “Too Many Girls” and married six months later. The pair would continue to develop “I love Lucy,” aired in 1951.

“Lucy and Desi” will be available to stream Friday on Amazon Prime.

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