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Amy Poehler and brother Greg talk 'Welcome to Sweden'

Amy won't be the only Poehler on NBC for much longer.

"Welcome to Sweden" brings the funnywoman's brother Greg Poehler to the spotlight. The half-hour comedy, which will premiere Thursday, July 10 at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT, has the male Poehler's prints all over it.

He conceived it, executive produces it, stars in it, and serves as its head writer and show runner. So clearly Amy, who also serves as an executive producer, isn't the only jack-of-all-trades in the family.

The fish-out-of-water comedy, based loosely on Poehler's life, follows Bruce Evans (Poehler), a money manager to the stars who moves to Sweden for love. With the culture clash, comedy ensues.

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Though its stateside launch is a few months away, the series has already made its debut in Sweden on TV4 -- and has been quite the hit, even scoring a second season three weeks after its launch. NBC bought the rights to the series last October. 

If you haven't heard of the male Poehler, there's a reason. He was a lawyer for 12 years in New York and Sweden. He started doing stand-up two years ago in Sweden, which served as a catalyst for the career change, he told reporters Tuesday during NBC's press day in Pasadena.

He began crafting a script for the pilot from an attic in Stockholm, claiming he didn't think he would ever get anyone to read it -- feigning ignorance of the whole "it's who you know" adage?

"I thought [breaking into Hollywood] was something you had to do early in life," he said. "To be able to do this in middle age ... I'm so appreciative of the opportunity."

That's not to say he didn't seek the help of his sister -- though he said it was mostly to make sure the script format was correct.

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"I sent Amy the script just so she could check the font and the size," he said. "I wanted to make sure it looked like a script. Actually, step one for me was to Google 'how to write a script.' But [I sent it to Amy] to make sure spacing and font looked right. She really liked the script and said she wanted to produce."

And she's not one to give handouts, even to kin, he said. "Several family members have pitched unsuccessfully to her over the years," he said. "When she came on board, it was a stamp of approval."

The series will feature guest appearances from the female Poehler, as well as Aubrey Plaza, Gene Simmons and Will Ferrell, who shows off his Swedish-speaking skills (Ferrell's real-life wife is Swedish).

The show is "ablout love taking you somehwere else," Amy said. "And to celebrate what makes Sweden so excellent, and also so weird. Just like the U.S."

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yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

 

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