The Parks and Recreation star opens up about succeeding in comedy

By Jessica Fecteau
Updated June 27, 2015 06:25 PM
Advertisement
Getty

In addition to the many lessons Amy Poehler shares in her memoir Yes Please, the comedien offered some words of wisdom to up-and-coming actors at the Upright Citizen Brigade‘s Del Close 17th Annual Marathon in New York City on Friday.

In-between spontaneous improv scenes during the marathon’s press conference with the three other founding members of U.C.B. – Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Matt Besser –, the Parks and Recreation star told aspiring comedians to figure out why they really want to break into the business.

“If the goal is doing good stuff and working with your friends if you’re doing that then you’re succeeding,” Poehler said. “If the goal is to be famous and make money – then you’re in real trouble.”

Poehler, 43, added, “It happens rarely and when that is your goal – being famous and making money – then you’re not paying attention to the things that will make you money.”

Poehler co-founded U.C.B. in 1990. But opening their first New York City U.C.B. venue in a former strip club was just the beginning of their careers.

“It’s a long life. It’s a long process,” Poehler says. “It’s a hard business this business doing comedy. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for the weak to be living in New York. It’s hard.”

Poehler later told PEOPLE at the event’s red carpet that the philosophy of what U.C.B. represents for up-and-coming comedians hasn’t changed.

“I think there’s always been an awesome sense of community,” she tells PEOPLE. “And there’s been a really nice sense of play and low pressure, high quality of talent, that kind of thing.”

Other well-known celebrities who have come up through the ranks of U.C.B. include The League‘s Jason Mantzoukas, The Office‘s Zach Woods, and Saturday Night Live‘s Bobby Moynihan.