Soloway on Poehler: A Broadsheet fantasy interview

Bust publishes a conversation between two of our favorites.


Rebecca Traister
September 27, 2006 5:00AM (UTC)

It's one of life's small sadnesses that Bust magazine has a relatively limited online presence. Today it's especially sad, because it means we can't send you directly to read the interview it has published this month with two of my very favorite writers/performers/funny people, Amy Poehler and Jill Soloway.

You probably already know Poehler as a "Saturday Night Live" cast member and, until recently, "Weekend Update" co-host with the object of Broadsheet's obsessive love, Tina Fey. I was first turned on to Soloway, a former "Six Feet Under" writer, by Salon's Heather Havrilesky, who kvelled so persuasively about Soloway's book "Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants" that I ran right out and bought it. You should too. It's fantastic.

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Anyhoo, Bust asked Soloway to have a sit-down with Poehler, and the result is so smart and funny that you should also run right out and get this issue, which features Poehler aping Janet Leigh from "Psycho" on the cover.

I wouldn't want to blow the whole Bust wad here and now, but I'll leave you with a few choice morsels from the interview, which begins with the women discussing how the movie "Carrie" was about a fear of menstrual blood, then contemplating the comparative lushness of Amy Irving's and Kate Capshaw's bushes, and digressing into the fact that Poehler wanted to put a joke about the "male gaze" in her upcoming movie, "Spring Breakdown," but nobody got it, thinking she was talking about "male gays."

Here is Poehler on the amount of physical real estate celebrity women seem to be taking up right now: "There's this whole thing right now with all these skinny ladies, where girls are looking like they're starving and dying. Remember Gabrielle Reece and Cindy Crawford? They were strong ladies, I want my built ladies back."

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Soloway on the same topic: "I didn't see 'Nacho Libre,' but when I saw posters for it I thought, God, what would it be like for a woman to open a movie with a big old belly stickin' out, in tights?"

Then there's Poehler's response to whether she has a feminist agenda: "What I would like to see right now are some female comedy stars over 30. You know, when we were growing up, there were female leads over 30 in comedies who actually looked like they could live in your apartment building. Like Terri Garr, Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler, Diane Keaton ..." Now, she describes watching the MTV movie awards and noticing that "when they announced the nominees for Best Comedic Performance, I don't think there was a chick in there."

Soloway, who has written extensively about her concerns regarding porn-star chic, grills Poehler about her feelings on this "Pussycat Dolls" aesthetic. "I guess that once it comes into the adult realm it's like, 'Great, go for it, do your own thing,'" says Poehler. "'Sit on cakes. Do whatever the fuck you want.' It's just that I get worried for young girls sometimes; I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent, and not so withered and shriveled ... More than it being the Pussycat Dolls thing? It's just distracting from what is real power."

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Poehler also raves about the movie "Friends With Money," in which three of the stars (Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack and Frances McDormand) "all look very normal -- they have no surge. And it was so luxurious that they were in the whole movie. It was like 'Oh, my god! This is still about them! This is still their story!' It was like skipping school." She's totally right about that movie, and everyone should go out and rent that too as long as they're buying Bust and "Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants."

Clearly I shouldn't quote anymore here or I'll be violating copyright laws or something. But if you want more, go get the magazine (or check out Rachel Sklar's Huffington Post item in which she quotes some different interview highlights). Seriously, it's that good.

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Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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