Being nice didn't work last year when Amy Poehler got nominated for best comedy actress at the Emmys for "Parks and Recreation." She lost to Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"), who previously had won three Emmys as steel-nerved mafia mama Carmela Soprano on "The Sopranos." So I urge the former star of "Mean Girls" to get, well, mean this year.
That's a problem for Poehler because she's sweet by nature and she's usually nominated against pals like Tina Fey ("30 Rock"). "Yeah," she agrees with a nervous giggle (video below), "in fact, I just saw Tina yesterday and we were laughing about it."
But Poehler understands that seizing the highest honor of her profession is no laughing matter. "I know I should be more cutthroat and competitive about it," she sighs. "I've got to start thinking about these people as my sworn enemy. I'm going to start training like that girl from 'Hanna.' I'm going to shoot deer in the forest and get ready for the Emmys."
Rallying to the challenge, she says facing off against Carmela Soprano/Nurse Jackie Peyton doesn't scare her. "Edie Falco is really tough," she notes, "but she's little."
Poehler's toughest challenger this year may actually be three-time champ Laura Linney ("The Big C"), who's never lost an Emmy race. "Laura Linney is such a great actress and such a lovely person," Poehler concedes, "but I will take her out at the knees if I have to."
We offer our help and she's grateful because Poehler follows The Envelope, including our forums. "I can't read all of the comments because they're not always positive," she says with a wry smile, but she likes to track the discussion of what episode she should submit to the Emmy jury. So I just set up a special thread in our message boards to focus just on that topic -- pipe in if you've got some thoughts.
"The viewers sometimes have a better perspective than the actors, so I'm open to suggestions," she adds. "So you tell me. I trust your analysis and judgment much more than my own when it comes to this kind of stuff. I'm depending on you to tell me what to wear, where to show up and whose knees to take out with a pipe."
-- Tom O'Neil
Photo: Amy Phoehler in "Parks and Recreation." Credit: NBC