Amy Poehler on being a woman in comedy: "I have these meetings with really powerful men and they ask me all the time, 'Where are your kids?'"

The actress, comedienne and entrepreneur spoke out in an interview with "Fast Company"

Published May 12, 2015 3:03PM (EDT)

  (Brad Barket/invision/ap)
(Brad Barket/invision/ap)

Is there anything Amy Poehler can’t do? Very little, judging from a recent Fast Company profile, which discusses Poehler’s second life as a new media entrepreneur. In addition to her own acting work, Poehler has been working to develop new talent via her company Paper Kite Productions, bringing “Broad City” from web to screen as well as developing Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner’s forthcoming Hulu series “Difficult People”

In the candid interview, Poehler spoke out about the difficulties of being a woman in the male-dominated comedy sphere. “I have these meetings with really powerful men and they ask me all the time, ‘Where are your kids? Are your kids here?’ " said Poehler, who is a mother of two. "It’s such a weird question. Never in a million years do I ask guys where their kids are. It would be comparable to me going to a guy, ‘Do you feel like you see your kids enough?’ “

A lot of Poehler’s producing endeavors involve women, which she insists has selfish motivations; she just “[likes] working with women.” Still, she acknowledges that it can be a challenge to balance being assertive with being vulnerable and open creatively:

"I often look to men to model behavior. Not because I want to squelch what’s feminine about me, but because sometimes I want a little more action, a little less feeling in my interactions. I’ve been doing this thing lately where I try to talk slower at meetings. I take a lot of meetings with women and we all talk really fast. But every guy talks so much slower. Maybe there’s a scientist who could tell me why, but I think men are just a little bit more comfortable taking up conversational real estate. So I’ve been seeing how slow I can tolerate talking. I’m doing it now. Let me tell you, it’s really hard for me."

Throughout the interview, Poehler’s peers and collaborators champion her as a role model for other women in the field. "She never apologizes for being a woman, and always does things exactly the way she wants," says “Orange is the New Black” star Natasha Lyonne. "It’s just her way of existing. And it trickles down into all her projects, like helping all these young female comedians."

“She never shuts you down,” adds Poehler’s “Parks and Recreation” costar Aubrey Plaza. She always listens and wants to hear what you have to say. But at the same time, she knows what she wants. And you always feel very safe having her in charge, because there’s just this underlying sense that she can steer you in the right direction.”

Poehler for President, please.

By Anna Silman

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Amy Poehler Fast Company Hollywood Sexism Women