Burlingtonšs Amy Poehler brings local laughs

BURLINGTON — Amy Poehler may have left her native Burlington for New York City, but her baseball preference shows her true Boston colors.

"The Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000," said the "Saturday Night Live" star with mock sympathy. "They must be cursed."

This humor made Poehler a perfect fit at the annual "Funny Women ... Serious Business" luncheon last Tuesday, benefiting Rosie's Place, a nurturing sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston.

The event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center brought together more than 1,200 sponsors and individual supporters of Rosie's Place.

To date, more than $1 million has been raised.

After a stint on "Celebrity Poker" on Bravo, Poehler donated $5,000 to the cause.

"Rosie's Place is the kind of place that people have nothing but good things to say about," said Poehler in a post-show interview. "It's got a good reputation."

Poehler was born in Burlington in 1971. She grew up near St. Malachy's Church with her parents Bill and Eileen Poehler (who still reside in Burlington) and her brother Greg.

A graduate of Burlington High School, she starred as Princess Winifred in the school's play, "Once Upon a Mattress."

A self-proclaimed "activity nerd," Poehler was also involved in the Student Council, softball, and soccer at BHS.

Through her travels, she has learned that the Burlington Mall is world famous.

"Every country I travel to, they ask me about it," she said. "My friends and I learned there how to congregate. The Burlington Mall was my comedy college, and Spencer Gifts was my library."

She waitressed for awhile at Chadwick's, a Lexington restaurant.

"We wore Styrofoam hats and we had to sing and dance when it was somebody's birthday," she recalls with a laugh.

After studying at Boston College, Poehler moved to Chicago in 1993 and joined the Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch/improvisation group, in 1996.

The Upright Citizens Brigade moved to New York in 1998, where they got their own sketch comedy series on Comedy Central for three seasons.

Poehler joined "Saturday Night Live" as a featured player in 2001 and was upped to cast member status in January 2002.

Her job, she said, has allowed her many prized encounters, including a brush with "the rock-solid perfection of Johnny Damon's chest."

She now co-anchors with Tina Fey on SNL's "Weekend Update."

Poehler's movie credits include "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo," "Wet Hot American Summer," "Mean Girls" with Lindsay Lohan, and, most recently, "Envy" with Ben Stiller.

But with all her success and travels, Poehler has not forgotten her New England roots.

"I always go back to Burlington," she said. Her favorite hot spots are Dunkin' Donuts and Papa Razzi (and, of course, the Burlington Mall).

Poehler's advice to aspiring local performers is to try and stand out.

"Boston has a nice, unique sense of humor," she said. "Stick to your guns and figure out what makes you original and unique."

© 2000 Woburn Daily Times Inc.