Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Amy Poehler's brother spins comedy out of his life in Sweden

This image released by NBC shows Greg Poehler as Bruce Evans from the comedy series

Enlarge Image

This image released by NBC shows Greg Poehler as Bruce Evans from the comedy series "Welcome to Sweden," premiering Thursday, July 10, on NBC. (AP Photo/NBC, Benjamin Thuresson)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Seated at a dinner table surrounded by his girlfriend's relatives on his first day in Sweden, Greg Poehler couldn't help thinking that his experience in culture shock might make a good television show or movie someday.

Flash-forward 14 years and that instinct proved true. The couple married, moved to Stockholm six years after that initial visit and have three children. Amy Poehler's younger brother, 39, is now the writer, producer and star of NBC's summer comedy "Welcome to Sweden," premiering Thursday (9 p.m. EDT).

The understated romantic comedy changes some details: Greg was a lawyer and his character, Bruce, manages money for stars like Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell; Bruce's in-laws are nuts and Greg's are normal. But many of the details, like the struggle with a language barrier, are straight from Poehler's life.

"When I was writing the show, I realized that my own life was a little bit too well-adjusted and happy for us to do a true story," he said. "No one wants to watch a show where a guy moves somewhere and everything goes great, the family is very supportive. It's good for your life. It's not good for a sitcom."

His goal was a show with equal appeal for both markets, one that would feel like an American show to Swedes and like a quirky Swedish show to Americans.

The first part worked. Poehler made the show primarily in Stockholm with Swedish actors for Swedish television, and the 10-episode season was considered a hit when it aired starting in March. NBC had expressed interest in the idea prior to the series being made, but didn't agree to schedule it until after the full season successfully aired in Sweden. No matter what happens this summer on NBC, success in Sweden ensures a second season will be made.

The premiere features Poehler's sister as a self-absorbed star who fires Bruce as he tells her he's quitting his job to move to Sweden.

Greg Poehler had considered following Amy into show business until, as a 19-year-old, he visited for a weekend as she performed with a comedy troupe in Chicago. He was blown away by how good everyone was and figured he could never reach that level. Considering Amy's colleagues that weekend included Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, perhaps he was a little hard on himself.

He took another path, marrying a fellow New York lawyer with Swedish roots. An unscratched itch led him to try performing at a Stockholm comedy club two years ago. It went well, leading him to write the show.

Poehler acknowledges the benefits of having a successful sibling; he figures even Swedish TV producers gave him the benefit of the doubt knowing the bloodlines (Amy is an executive producer, and called on friends like Ferrell for cameos).

At the same time, it adds pressure. "Welcome to Sweden" relies more on character development than steady wisecracks, and more often than not his character is a straight man to others.

"I cringe a little bit when I hear people say, 'he's not as funny as his sister' in this role," he said. "I gave her all the funny lines, as a good younger brother should."

Asked when he finally felt at home in Sweden, Poehler said he hasn't yet. Even with support, there are challenges to fully assimilating into another culture, as immigrants of all generations know. Poehler said he didn't want to shy away from this in the series.

He eventually expects to return to the United States, where his parents still live.

"The plan was always to move back once the kids went to college," said Poehler, who has sons aged 9 and 6, and a 1-year-old daughter. "Now we just had our third kid, so that keeps getting pushed back."


David Bauder can be reached at or on Twitter@bauder. His work can be found at



  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media