Saturday Night Live used to be known as a boys' club. This season Amy Poehler--who joined Tina Fey on "Weekend Update" and contributed sharp parodies of such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul and Kelly Ripa--helped bring the females to the forefront as never before. She took time out from rehearsing for last weekend's season finale to talk with TIME's Richard Zoglin.
YOU'VE JUST FINISHED YOUR FIRST SEASON AS "WEEKEND UPDATE" CO-ANCHOR. WAS IT YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SHOW, OR THE HARDEST PART?
One of the good things it did--I would be so nervous about it that I would loosen up in all my sketches. So it helped in my sketch work. But I'm really happy to have a year behind me. I'm just starting to turn the corner and get a little bit more comfortable.
WAS IT A GOOD YEAR FOR NEWS SATIRE?
You know, at the beginning of the year there was a lot of political stuff. Now there's a lot of pop culture in the news. Everything is like a big giant soup right now--you know, like Laura Bush is a desperate housewife. It's always more fun when there's more political stuff going on. There's just so much more juicy stuff to dive into.
WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE NEWS ANCHOR?
Brian Williams. I've met him at a couple of events, and he's super dry funny. I have to say, I get a crush on any guy who's a news anchor and really funny.
YOU DO GREAT IMPRESSIONS, BUT WAS THERE ANYONE YOU TRIED TO DO AND JUST NEVER COULD GET?
It's funny. One time we did an Ocean's Eleven sketch, and there was, like, eight of us sitting on a couch, and we were all laughing because not one of us looked anything like the person we were playing--Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts. Sometimes you just kind of make something up: O.K., I'm gonna pretend that Julia Roberts always has her mouth open. You just try to pick one thing and see if it flies.
WHO WAS THE BEST GUEST HOST?
You know who I fell in love with? John McCain--who was hilarious and so excited that he was doing it and giddy about staying up so late. Someone that I probably never would have met in any other way in my life, and who, like, suddenly you're doing a sketch where you're together in the shower.
YOU PLAY THAT HYPERKINETIC LITTLE GIRL CAITLIN. WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?
I've always loved girls that age, who are really fearless and who haven't really discovered boys yet, and they're really comfortable with their bodies. It's one part me as a little kid. And honestly, it's one part a small tribute to Gilda [Radner], to her Judy Miller character. I just remember thinking, That's what I wanna do--jump up and bang against the door and be like a whirling dervish a little bit.
WILL FERRELL JUST CAME BACK TO BE A HOST OF THE SHOW. DOES HE HAVE A BIG HEAD NOW?
Oh, he's absolutely impossible to work with. When I first saw him, he handed me a hundred-dollar bill and said, "Go get me some coffee." And I was like, "Do you want change?" And he said, "I have no idea what coffee costs anymore." No, it was so awesome to have him back.
WILL FERRELL, ADAM SANDLER, MIKE MYERS--A LOT OF MEN HAVE LEFT THE SHOW AND BECOME BIG MOVIE STARS, BUT HARDLY ANY WOMEN. THOUGHTS?