This guy lands stateside Thursday night with his U.S. acting, writing, and producing debut TV series Welcome to Sweden. Sure, we recognize Greg Poehler's last name, but the most we know about him is that he's younger brother to comedy goddess Amy Poehler. Clearly, humor is in the Poehler genes, but we need to know more about the sibling that will be hitting our screens Thursday on NBC.
Though he's relatively unknown on this side of the pond, Greg Poehler has already reached celeb status in Sweden where the show's first season has finished airing. Familiarizing ourselves with the life of the actor/producer/writer seems fitting. Not only does he have a unique story, but the show is inspired by his real life events.
It might seem unlikely that the brother of such a prolific comedian would be clueless about show business, but the younger Poehler decided to do his parents a favor after he saw his sister trying to make it in comedy. He chose a more stable career path and went to law school. “She was a struggling waitress, and it didn’t seem to be the most appealing life to me,” the younger Poehler told the New York Post.
It was his profession that led him to meet his wife in New York where they were both living at the time. She was also a lawyer, but from Sweden. After they had just met, she asked if he'd ever move to Sweden. He said yes, based purely with the intention of taking her home at the end of the night. Yet, a few years later, that's exactly what they did.
He continued to practice law after the move, but, as he told The Hollywood Reporter, Poehler never felt comfortable in the corporate suit environment. People around him had told him he was funny, but his work environment never let him really elaborate on any potential. It wasn't until he was forced on stage by some friends to try standup that he delved into comedy.
A few months into his comedy ventures, he tried his hand at writing, but came up short in the experience department. He even Googled "how to write a script," he said in an interview. He wanted to write his story about giving up a life he was familiar with for love, and what people do in the aftermath of that act. At the heart of the show, there's a love story, but the comedy comes with the little misunderstandings and cultural differences that Poehler actually experienced after his move to Sweden and still lives with today. He wanted to make sure he was getting the format right as he penned his fictionalized life, and that's why Greg reached out to his show biz pro sister Amy, not as a plea for a favor, he told the New York Times.
Turns out, Amy thought there was something there, so she signed on as a producer and the Poehler siblings started their own production company to produce the show. Appropriately they named the new company Syskon, or "siblings" in Swedish. The show was developed for Swedish TV, with a cast of Swedish actors. It's Sweden's first ever English series, with the majority of the show in English, and a small part in subtitled Swedish.
The outline of the show is based on Poehler's life, but the actual characters don't resemble those who surround the show's star. His real wife is closer to his age, he was never a celebrity accountant, his in-laws aren't crazy, and his show parents are not based on his real parents, but a general set of American parents. Though his lifestyle in Sweden, and the country in general seem pretty foreign to most Americans, there will be some famous familiar faces visiting Welcome to Sweden (including Aubrey Plaza), all playing hilarious versions of themselves.
The show has been picked up for a second season in Sweden, and the producer siblings are working on getting more mutual friends on board for guest starring roles in the new episodes. We haven't yet seen if the show would get a second season stateside, but if the good reviews we're seeing on Poehler's Instagram account (yes, really) are any indication, we should probably be glad Greg Poehler got over that whole lawyer thing.
Images: instagram.com/gpoles22 (5)