If you’re already feeling the loss of Amy Poehler from your life after the Parks and Rec finale this week, look for comfort no further than this twenty-year-old pilot filmed in 1995 Toronto that was just released yesterday.
Though the pilot, called RVTV, was released by Second City in bits and pieces, you can already see where the show was headed and that 23-year-old Poehler was the center of the show. With fellow comedians Matt Dwyer and father of improv comedy and owner of Chicago theater improvOlympic Del Close, RVTV features a fair amount of improv and funny, bizarre predictions about the Internet’s sheer ’90s weirdness. Most of all, it’s a fun look at what Leslie Knope was like before founding the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in New York and launching her career on SNL in the 2000s.
Splitsider reached out to Matt Dwyer for some comments on the pilot, and he reflected through the fog of memory:
“I honestly do not recall where the concept came from. I know it was written by Adam McKay and Tom Gianas, who both went on to write for SNL and of course film and TV. Tom co-directed it. We shot it for a week up in Toronto.”
“Also, Del improvised constantly and was throwing in tributes to old greats like his Ken Nordine. I think Amy and I may have improvised less, but as with any group of improvisors working together, improvisation is going to happen. Del was constantly throwing in references to Lenny Bruce and the others of that era. The target audience for that show probably would have no idea who he was talking about, but I personally loved it. It was a a great deal of fun and I remember both Amy and I were thrilled to be working with Del. Del was an icon to all of us.”
At the time, Poehler and fellow future SNL cast member Tina Fey were honing their improv skills in Chicago at improvOlympic and Second City, where the two were on the touring company making money where they could. The next year, Poehler would move to New York and launch the UCB Theater, now one of the most popular improv theaters in New York and LA, with friends Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts, a move that would also yield their three-season sketch show on Comedy Central.
Need more early Amy? Check out this clip from Conan after her move to New York:
Thanks for being awesome since the dawn of time, Amy.