Everyone loved the Golden Couple of Comedy, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett. When they broke up last fall, the internet’s collective heart was broken. They seemed so great! So fun! So funny! But that’s over now, and it’s time to start dealing with the next phase: post-divorce dating. According to Page Six, Amy was seen having a “cozy” dinner with comedian Nick Kroll.
You know him as Ruxin on The League, or “The Douche” on Parks & Rec, or maybe you’ve seen his sketch show on Comedy Central, The Kroll Show (which you should check out if you’re not familiar—easily the best and most consistent sketch work since Dave Chapelle). Nick Kroll is a tremendous sketch performer and a damn good stand-up and he’s a great writer to boot. And, um…he’s more Amy Poehler’s equal than Will Arnett ever was.
People have this image of Arnett as Amy’s comedy partner as much as he was a partner in life—her “male Tina”—but no, not actually. Arnett’s a good—very good—actor. He has good timing and delivery and he’s part of an indelible touchstone in comedy, Arrested Development. But he isn’t actually a comedian. He married one. He knows a bunch of them. But he isn’t a content creator like Amy and Tina. When it comes to comedy, Arnett is always part of the ensemble, you know?
I wondered at the time of their split if that didn’t have something to do with it. When they got married, Amy and Arnett were equals, struggling up the ladder of entertainment. Maybe even Arnett had the edge, as he broke out with Arrested Development while Amy was just getting started on SNL. But nine years later, she’s ascended to the top of the comedy pile while Arnett has struggled to match what he had with Arrested Development.
Nick Kroll? He’s actually, in comedy terms, Amy Poehler’s equal. He can write, he can produce, he can perform. He’s well connected on his own, looping in with Dave Chappelle, John Mulaney (his writing partner and one of the top stand-ups working today), the Duplass Brothers, and a wide network of comics, both stand-up and sketch, who are emerging as the next generation of comedy tastemakers including Aziz Ansari and John Oliver.
Is that everything? Is that the most important thing? No. But in Hollywood relationships, career equality matters, maybe more than it does in the real world. I start eye-balling celebrity couples the second one partner becomes clearly more successful than the other (Andrew Garfield and Shannon Woodward were a perfect example of this). So for someone in Amy’s position—so busy and under pressure to continue producing—dating someone who’s got his own sh*t going on can be one less thing to worry about. So what if I’m working late, writing the next episode of my hit TV show? So is he. So what if I have to jet to New York for the weekend to do a live appearance or take a meeting? So does he. So what if I’m bunkered down with my writing partner, ignoring real world concerns in favor of finishing this script by deadline? He understands, because so is he.
The internet may not love Amy + Nick like it loved Amy + Will. But for fans of comedy this is a match made in heaven.
Attached -- Amy out grocery shopping yesterday.