Amy Poehler Tells the Story Behind Her Yo La Tengo Cover Art on Kimmel: Watch


Back in 2000, Yo La Tengo released a cover of George McRae’s song “You Can Have It All” and paid Amy Poehler, then a young actress and comedian in New York, to pay homage to her Upright Citizens Brigade skit “Spaghetti Jesus” for the single’s cover artwork. The song quickly became a staple of the band’s discography, but most listen to it in the context of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, the studio album on which it appears. Poehler has since become an A-list star, but she was happy to revisit this deep cut from her career while stopping by Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night. Watch her interview about the whole experience, and some back-and-forth banter with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, below.

When asked by Jimmy Kimmel if the red goop on her face is blood, Poehler clarified that it’s pasta sauce. “That’s the first and only time I’ve been on the cover of a record,” she laughs. “That’s a sketch I did with UCB, my sketch group, called ‘Spaghetti Jesus.’ The premise of the sketch is that the face of Jesus is found in a bowl of spaghetti, and then someone ate it. We panned around to see who it was and then that happened. So I guess the fine people of Yo La Tengo thought it would be a good album cover…. You know, it was a different time.”

It may have been Poehler’s last time as the cover artwork for a record, but it wasn’t her last time working with Yo La Tengo. The two crossed paths again later on during her time on Parks and Recreation when Yo La Tengo, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, the Decemberists, and Ginuwine all appeared in the finale of the NBC program’s sixth season.

Yo La Tengo released their most recent album, This Stupid World, last year. Read about it at No. 38 in Pitchfork’s list of “The 50 Best Albums of 2023” and revisit the interview “Forty Years In, Yo La Tengo Are Still Making It Up as They Go.”

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