• Sweden edition
 
'It's time the world laughed with Sweden'
Greg Poehler in a scene from Welcome to Sweden. Photo: David Einar/TV4

'It's time the world laughed with Sweden'

Published: 17 Dec 2013 09:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Dec 2013 09:37 GMT+01:00

US-native Greg Poehler tells The Local why he turned his Swedish life into a TV show, that comparisons to his comedian sister Amy are inevitable, and why Swedes should be known for their sense of humour.

Even if he doesn't like it, 39­-year­-old Greg Poehler is best known as the brother of US actress Amy Poehler. But all that may change early next year when his new show ­Welcome to Sweden ­hits TV screens around the world.
 
Poehler, a seven­-year veteran expat in Sweden, wrote the programme based on his own life in Stockholm, and it promises big-­name cameos from the likes of Amy Poehler herself, Will Ferrell (who has a Swedish wife and accompanying Swedish summer cottage), Gene Simmons, Patrick Duffy, and Swedish stars Malin Åkerman, Josephine Bornebusch and Lena Olin.
 
Poehler plays the lead role, produced, and is currently in the final editing process for a premiere on Sweden's commercial broadcaster TV4, with NBC to follow, not to mention a host of other countries. The show, he says, will mark many Americans' first encounter with Stockholm, besides perhaps the gloomy Millennium books by Stieg Larsson.
 
And it's about time the subject matter is a little lighter, he adds.
 
"I think the world is ready to laugh with Sweden," he tells The Local. "I'm hesitant to say I want the world to laugh at Sweden... Sweden is coming out pretty well in this."
 
"The show is like a postcard of Stockholm at its best. The weather is incredible, the sun is always shining...  perhaps Sweden comes out a little too well. Sweden has this darker reputation with all the Bergman films... perhaps it's deserved, I'm not sure. But my plan for season two is to have an all­-winter, all­-dark season to show the other side of it all."
 
The show will be based on Poehler's experiences when he first came to Sweden in the middle of the summer seven years ago, a choice of timing he muses may have been a ploy by his then­-girlfriend to get him to fall in love with Sweden. The ploy evidently worked, as Poehler now calls Sweden home and he has graduated from boyfriend to husband.
 
While Poehler's character plays an accountant called Bruce (he was a lawyer in real life before taking up show biz), the majority of the show aims to give a realistic look into Poehler's life in Sweden as a love refugee. With an international audience, he was forced to avoid stereotypes and in-­jokes, and instead focus on life in Sweden from a stranger-­in-­a-­strange-­land perspective.
 
"But we do go into a few things, like Swedes not talking to their neighbours, for example," he adds.
 
Poehler made the leap from lawyer to laughter around two years ago, when a friend almost literally pushed him on stage at a stand­-up comedy gig. His success on stage pushed him to follow something he "secretly always wanted to do" -­ entertainment -­ a road his big sister Amy had taken long ago.
 
The older Poehler has charmed world audiences in Parks and Recreation and Saturday Night Live, and is one of the big draw cards of Welcome to Sweden, in which she will play herself in five episodes. Her kid brother admits that she played a crucial role in getting the show going.
 
"I'm not naïve enough to think my sister's name and connections weren't helpful and didn't get me invited to the party, but I think whether I get to stay at the party is up to me," he says, adding that he doesn't mind if she stays in the limelight for now.
 
"I can't start getting upset that the headlines all say 'Amy Poehler's brother is doing a show'. If I was just some guy it wouldn't be a headline. The headline would be 'NBC buys rights to a Swedish show' and no­ one would really care. I get it, that's why they're interested, and if that makes more people watch it then that's great," he explains.
 
"But if they're tuning in to see me fail, I think they'll be disappointed."
 
While the aim is to draw smiles, the US comic admits that life for an immigrant in Sweden isn't all fun and games. He was sure to include home truths in the show. He admits that in real life, he can't think of a time he was invited to dinner party by a Swede who he didn't know through his wife, for example.
 
"We do have some surprisingly low and sad moments," he says. "Life as an immigrant in Sweden is a hard adjustment, finding a job, friends, assimilating into society...  I think those who have done this, those who live here as expats, they'll relate and be proud of the portrayal. A lot of the humour comes from recognizable situations for those who live here."
 
So does the American feel any kind of pressure specifically representing the expats in Sweden for a global audience?
 
"I didn't feel any pressure before you asked, and I resent the question quite frankly," he says with a lengthy laugh.
 
"I can say that if the readers of The Local don't like it then I really am in trouble."
 
Oliver Gee

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Teens in intensive care after school 'initiation'
Photo: Peder Skrivares school

Teens in intensive care after school 'initiation'

School inspectors are investigating after an initiation ceremony at a high school in Varberg in south west Sweden left four girls in hospital. READ  

National
Pirate Bay Swede 'mistreated' in jail
Peter Sunde. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede 'mistreated' in jail

The brother of Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has questioned the conditions of his brother's Swedish jail, slamming both the institution and the guards. READ  

Elections 2014
Fresh election fears in divided Sweden
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson may not support a Social Democrat budget. Photo: TT

Fresh election fears in divided Sweden

UPDATED: The leaders of Sweden's main political parties have been called to parliament as speculation grows that the Sweden Democrats could hold the key to new elections. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing... the Stockholm collection
Photo: Imagebank Sweden

Introducing... the Stockholm collection

Moving to Stockholm, or just dreaming about it? Either way, this is your ultimate guide: for housing, finances, insurance, business, and so much more. READ  

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Time for some luxury this week - we're heading to a sprawling Eskilstuna property with a location and view to die for. READ  

National
Row over viral 'Nazi receipt' in Swedish shop
A cashier in a Coop supermarket: Photo: TT

Row over viral 'Nazi receipt' in Swedish shop

A photo of a till receipt with the Nazi slogan "Sieg Heil" printed on it has gone viral in Sweden, with supermarket chain Coop launching an internal investigation. READ  

Society
Sweden tops 'financial well-being' rankings
Sweden's family-friendly policies contribute to well-being. Photo: TT

Sweden tops 'financial well-being' rankings

Swedes have fewer money concerns than people from any other European country, according to the latest major report on global well-being. READ  

National
King Carl XVI Gustaf 'unhurt' after crash
The King of Sweden. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf 'unhurt' after crash

UPDATED: Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf has been involved in a car accident but is unhurt, the Royal family's press office has confirmed to The Local. READ  

Elections 2014
Migration minister calls Feminists 'a dark force'

Migration minister calls Feminists 'a dark force'

Sweden's Migration Minister has said in a Facebook post that both the Sweden Democrats and the Feminist Initiative parties were "dark, gloomy, and destructive forces". READ  

The Local List
Ten Swedish designs that made life better
Playsam

Ten Swedish designs that made life better

Sweden has produced an indecent number of design classics. We take a look at some of the best - from toys to furniture, fabric designs to telephones, packaging to super-safe headwear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Blog updates

17 September

Deep election analysis (Blogweiser) »

"You think you’re bad? Well I’m American. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFbomLID0vU Deep deep analysis on Swedish election results. Vlog post: https://t.co/tjQgfa5Yie #svpol #val2014 #politics pic.twitter.com/oEK5ADFT8L — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 17, 2014 " READ »

 

15 September

Liten, litet, små & lilla (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Have you ever been confused about when to use “liten”, “litet”, “små” and “lilla”? Today I’m going to sort out how use the adjective “liten” (small) and the different forms of it. Liten or litet? “Liten” is the form we will use when referring to a noun with the gender “en”. For example: Min pappa har en..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

854
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN