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Amy Poehler MasterClass Review: Prepare To Be Unprepared

Are you prepared to be unprepared with Amy Poehler in her MasterClass? Check out our honest review to find out more about the course.

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Prepare to Be Unprepared MasterClass by Amy Poehler: Our Verdict (2024)


4.3 / 5

Amy Poehler’s MasterClass deals with principles of improvisation and explores ways you can apply them to your own life. The course is short and dynamic, and it offers a fun way of getting to know Amy’s approach to comedy and life. That said, it’s best suited for aspiring performers and fans of Poehler’s work.


  • Unique content
  • Dynamic
  • Suitable for a wide range of learners
  • Well-produced


  • Lack of depth
  • The structure could be better

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One of the reasons I decided to take Amy Poehler’s MasterClass is its mysterious title – “Prepare to be Unprepared.”

Secondly, I wanted to learn more about improvisation, something I’ve always been fascinated by.

Learning the principles and rules of improvisation sounds almost contradictory, so I was curious to see what the key takeaways of the course are.

Finally, Amy Poehler is a popular and respected comedian and actress, so even though I am not well familiar with her work, I was sure she has a lot of interesting stories to tell.

So, did the course meet my expectations, and who would I recommend it to?

Let’s find out!

Table of Contents

What is the Amy Poehler MasterClass?

Prepare To Be Unprepared” is an online course offered by MasterClass, a popular online learning platform known for its team of renowned instructors.

The course is taught by Amy Poehler, a famous American actress and comedian best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation.

As a comedian, Amy Poehler often uses improvisation. But her principles of improvisation helped her approach work as well as her personal life, and that’s precisely what her MasterClass is all about.

By combining one-to-one lessons, short exercises, and fun on-stage discussions with her audience, she delivered a unique, dynamic course ideal for aspiring performers interested in improvisation and comedy.

The course consists of only one video lesson with a duration of 1 hour and 16 minutes in total.

The course instructor, Amy Poehler
The course instructor, Amy Poehler

Who is Amy Poehler?

Amy Poehler is an American actress, comedian, and founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Born in Newton, Massachusetts, Poehler graduated from Boston College and studied improv at Chicago’s Second City and ImprovOlympic.

In 2001, she joined the cast of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL), which led her to many TV and movie roles. She also provided voice acting roles for animated films like Shrek the Third, Inside Out, and Monsters vs. Aliens.

In addition to acting, Poehler is an executive producer on television series like Broad City, Russian Doll, and Difficult People.

Thanks to her talent and contribution to television, she won multiple awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Who is Amy Poehler’s MasterClass for?

Many things that Amy discussed in her class are related to different ways you can approach life and your relationships with people.

For instance, she talked about the importance of active listening. This skill is essential for improvisation, but it can help you improve other aspects of your life as well. Being a good listener is a quality you should strive for regardless of your career and goals.

That said, Amy’s class isn’t only for aspiring performers and comedians. As she mentions at the beginning of the course, it’s for everyone.

While I do believe this class can benefit a wide range of learners, I think it’s best suited for admirers of Amy Poehler’s work. There are clips from Parks and Recreation and SNL, and the entire course is imbued with her recognizable humor, so being her admirer is definitely an advantage.

What does Amy Poehler’s MasterClass cover?

This MasterClass primarily deals with Amy Poehler’s principles of improvisation.

Amy breaks down nine principles of improv and gives examples for each. Some of the topics, qualities, and ideas she tackles meanwhile include:

  • Being a good listener
  • Saying yes to ideas
  • The importance of a good team
  • Understanding your status and relationship with others
  • Taking up space and making yourself heard
  • Enjoying the journey (instead of chasing success)

She also talked about what she learned throughout her career and shared personal stories and anecdotes.

Some parts of the course were based on one-on-one lessons, and others were set in a small theatre where Amy gave lectures on stage in real-time. The latter included questions from the audience, exercises, and funny ‘1-minute MasterClasses’ on various topics.

In addition, the course includes segments where Amy hangs out with her team so you can get a behind-the-scenes look at what she does as a producer.

My favorite parts of Amy Poehler’s MasterClass

Amy’s class was entertaining and easy to follow, and I was surprised by how much she managed to cover in less than an hour and a half.

Although I liked the versatility of the class – it was a mix of an on-stage lecture, one-on-one lessons, and clips – some parts did feel a bit forced, but I’ll get back to that later.

First, I want to discuss some of the parts I particularly liked, and that mostly includes chapters where Amy spoke to me as a learner. This is where she was more serious but also honest and insightful, and it was interesting to learn more about her approach to acting and comedy.

Some of the principles she talked about were pretty basic, but some of them (like playing with status) gave me some food for thought.

Either way, listening to MasterClass instructors talk about their career paths and the thought process behind their work is always a great experience.

Amy Poehler sharing her principles for improv during a workshop or interview
Amy Poehler discussing her principles for improv

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I liked about Amy Poehler’s MasterClass

Amy’s class didn’t take me a lot of time to complete, and there were some aspects of it I genuinely enjoyed, so I don’t regret taking it.

I believe all of her fans would find it entertaining and insightful, while comedy actors and performers would benefit from her improv tips.

Here are some of the reasons why I believe her class is worth taking.

Unique content

Honestly, this is probably the most unique MasterClass I’ve taken so far. The conversation with the audience in real-time was very refreshing, and seeing Amy on stage allowed me to learn by observing.

Also, even though the topic of the MasterClass is straightforward, Amy made it really broad and approachable. In a way, anyone can take whatever they want from the class.


Thanks to its versatility and Amy’s energy, the course was very engaging and fast-paced. Chapters just kept flowing into each other; there was a change of scene every couple of minutes, and things never got quiet or dull.

It’s by far one of the most dynamic MasterClasses I’ve taken.

Suitable for a wide range of learners

As I mentioned before, Amy’s class is focused on improvisation, but it provides so much more than that. Amy’s principles can be applied to all aspects of life, and that’s why her MasterClass is suitable for different types of learners.


MasterClass always delivers top-notch production quality, and this time was no different. This course was a pleasure to watch both for its content and its aesthetic, and that’s something that always affects my learning experience.

Amy interacting with her audience

Drawbacks of Amy Poehler’s MasterClass

Well, although I think it’s well-made and engaging, I wasn’t very impressed by Amy’s lessons. Let me explain why.

Lack of depth

First of all, I think most of Amy’s principles and explanations were somewhat basic. It was nice to hear her ‘formula’ for successful improvisation, but I didn’t hear anything new or thought-provoking.

Also, most of her advice was rather vague. She would start off with a great suggestion or idea, but she wouldn’t delve deeper into it.

The thing is, some of the parts where she was answering questions or doing a 1-minute MasterClass on a given topic turned into a comedy sketch. And while that was surely fun for her audience, I wanted her to teach me more – because this is MasterClass and because I know she can.

The structure could be better

Although I liked the dynamic of the course, at some point, things got a little bit chaotic.

I think a better structure of the course would make things better. For instance, the 1-minute MasterClasses Amy performed on stage would sometimes break the flow, and things just wouldn’t feel very natural.

Finally, it’s great that Amy kept me on my feet the whole time, but having a little time to chew on her ideas (or to write things down) would have also been nice.

Review conclusion: Is Amy Poehler’s MasterClass worth it?

All in all, I’m glad I took Amy’s MasterClass. It’s uplifting and well-made, and it helped me gain a new perspective on improv. However, the course didn’t leave me feeling inspired and fulfilled like some other MasterClasses.

Nevertheless, Amy managed to tackle a lot of topics and ideas in a short amount of time, and her enthusiasm and energy contributed to the positive atmosphere of the course.

Also, everything she talked about in the course – her nine principles of improvisation – can be applied to different aspects of life, which makes this class suitable for a wide range of learners.

So, if you already have a MasterClass subscription and you’re a fan of Amy’s work, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.