Nothing about this moment seems real. Amy Poehler — Saturday Night Live alum, Parks And Recreation star, , and, let’s not forget, Mean Girls' cool mom — is sitting across the table, debating whether she’d turn a nook into more of a mind-reading room or a time travel machine. Over her right shoulder, a black bear’s standing on its hind legs, and design legend Simon Doonan is rocking mod white sunglasses while playing cornhole. And nobody seems the least bit concerned about the five-foot-tall fire in the center of the room.
This isn’t an acid trip, or a dream, or even bad sushi. It’s a peek inside Amy’s brain. That, and the headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, where employees have turned the sixth floor into Camp Making It, complete with a taxidermied bear, canoes, and a roaring (wooden) campfire, all to celebrate Amy’s new show.
It’s the artist formerly known as Leslie Knope’s return to TV, executive producing and hosting NBC’s Making It, a competition show that stretches crafters to their creative limits over the course of two challenges. First, there’s a race-against-the-clock “Faster Craft” test, then a 10-hour-long “Master Craft,” where competitors create two to three items fitting a theme over the course of one day.
That may sound intense, but Amy’s quick to explain that the show, which premieres on Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST, is far from cutthroat. It’s more of a celebration of makers; something families could watch that doesn’t leave them feeling “stressed out or humiliated,” as she told .
Amy’s also quick to clarify that she’s not an intense crafter herself — that’s more her pal and co-host Nick Offerman’s territory (the man runs a in East Los Angeles, after all). “I represent the person who doesn’t know very much, but is excited to learn,” . After a season of learning under the nation’s top makers, it only seemed fitting to put Amy to the test, having her answer some of your biggest, wildest, most soul-plaguing home questions.
Before we get started, Amy leans into my cell phone, which is recording our conversation. “I just want to preface the answers to these questions with: I’m just going with my gut, which isn’t the best thing to do when you’re dealing with design, but —” she pauses, thinking, “Follow your heart. You can always rip it out.”
Okay, first question: What’s the most ingenious place to store toilet paper?
Ooh. Uh, the freezer. No one would ever think to look there. I store all my diamonds and my toilet paper in my freezer.
Some people take too many squares.
What should I do with that awkward space underneath the stairs?
I would — here’s what I would do, for real — I would cover it in mirrors. The floor, the ceiling, everything in that cheap mirror stuff and I would make it my teeny, tiny meditation room. I’d make it like — I’d pretend it was a time capsule. Or a time travel machine. You always want to have one piece in your house that little kids remember when they come over. So any kind of small, little space that you could say is, you know, the mind-reading room or whatever. They’ll never forget it.
Do you have a space like that in your home?
My boys have a little area between their two rooms that’s a little cubicle. Kids always come over and they just remember that part of the house, and I always remember that kind of stuff when I was a kid — people’s strange little nooks.
Did you have one in your house growing up?
No, but we had a laundry chute. We had a very small house, and we had a laundry chute, which I don’t think exists very much anymore, and we would throw things down the laundry chute and, like, put messages down the chute. And some kid would yell down the laundry chute. That perspective, of looking down the laundry chute, is what kids remembered from my house.
Next question: What’s the most energizing color to paint a room?
To paint a room? I don’t know, ‘cause if it’s a bedroom, you have to shut it down. I think it has to be very chill, for a bedroom. But for a room-room? You know, I enjoy a purple. My office is, like, a purple, and I just enjoy dark colors. I’ve heard yellow can be energizing but also can cause anxiety, so I’m going to say, like Prince, Purple Rain purple. If there is such a thing, go with that. It’s royal.
So bedrooms, you said something darker. What are you thinking there?
I’m thinking pretty neutral. I’m like a — as I’ve gotten older, I love to go to sleep. I love bedtime, so anything that just makes everything go away. Something very neutral that’d just make you feel, you know...[closes her eyes, looking zen, before opening them suddenly] Either that, or just a wall of iPhones. One extreme or the other.
So, in terms of DIYing and repurposing things: I broke a lamp. What’s the best thing to do with it?
The answer is, I don’t know. Because I don’t know the story of the breaking of the lamp. If you’ve broken it by accident, and you want to do something fun with it, like decoupage the pieces onto something else, great. But if you broke it during a fight, then I think you need to get rid of that energy. Get it out of your house.
You can do cool things with lamps, but I get nervous around electricity. Do you know how to make a lamp?
I don’t. It freaks me out a little, too.
Yeah. Maybe just — maybe put a towel over it and pretend it’s a birdcage.
Hey, that’s creative! On that note, if you were on Making It, what would be your secret advantage over the competition?
I’m really good at time management, so I think I could have a really good sense of what I could do in the time allotted. I also talk a big game, so for the first half, I would seem like I’m in the lead. But once my skills came to light, I would maybe lose my edge. Then, you know, I would just pull a fire alarm, if things weren’t going my way. Evacuate the building.
Run while you still can.
Let's be honest: DIY gifts are fun to make, but are there any that are actually worth getting? Are there any you look forward to receiving?
Any gift that anyone makes — truly — is worth getting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a card, anything refined. The idea that people would give you their time? That’s everybody’s most prized commodity. So, honestly, anything handmade would be incredible. That, and if someone wants to make me a car. Like a beautiful car, a gorgeous wood car? I’d be down.
Oooh, me too.
Made out of just one tree though. Just one.
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