Many people were forced to change their travel plans after Juno rolled into town earlier this week, but Amy Poehler didn’t let a little inclement weather stop her from coming to Cambridge on Thursday.
Poehler, 43, was in town to receive the Woman of the Year Award, an honor the Hasty Pudding Theatricals bestows annually to a deserving female performer.
The comedian, whose “Parks and Recreation” costar Chris Pratt will be honored as the Hasty Pudding’s Man of the Year on Feb. 6, was all smiles along the parade route, giving fans a royal wave that was complemented by her Woman of the Year tiara.
Thursday’s event was a bit of a homecoming for Poehler, who grew up in Burlington and graduated from Boston College in 1993. Poehler’s father, William, escorted his daughter along the Harvard Square parade route — a familiar scene for the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, who gave Harvard’s commencement address in 2011.
The parade’s grand finale came when Poehler exited the Bentley that served as her chariot, and joined members of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals — dressed in drag, a longstanding Hasty tradition — on the steps of Harvard’s Farkas Hall for a cheer and jig.
At the celebratory roast that followed, Hasty Pudding members poked fun at Poehler, covering everything from her Golden Globes cohosting gigs, a duty she has shared with pal Tina Fey, to her 15 consecutive Emmy nominations that have resulted in zero wins, joking: “Our Woman of the Year believes if she collects enough Emmy nominations, she’ll actually win one.”
Poehler took the jabs in jest, and shot back with some of her own, honing in on Harvard’s elite reputation while wearing a Boston College hat she got from her father.
“When I was growing up in Burlington, Harvard University was a place we threw rocks at on our way to our real jobs. When I drove by and gave you the middle finger, I had no idea I’d be honored by you [one day],” Poehler quipped. Of the crowd, she said, “I haven’t seen this many white people since I took my top off at a mime convention.”
Poehler accepted her award with true gravitas, but didn’t miss a chance to make light of the pudding pot. “I hope I treat this award with the respect any fake award deserves,” she said.
She added that she was honored to join the illustrious group of female entertainers who have been named Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year in the past. The award was first given in 1951, to Broadway star Gertrude Lawrence. Recent winners include Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Claire Danes, Marion Cotillard, and last year’s recipient, Helen Mirren.
The Hasty Pudding honor caps a big year for Poehler. The long-running “Parks and Recreation” is in its seventh and final season.
Her bestselling memoir, “Yes Please,” was published in October, and she is also executive producer of Comedy Central’s “Broad City.” In 2015, she’ll hit the big screen in “Sisters,” with Fey, and as the voice of Joy in Disney-Pixar’s upcoming animated film “Inside Out.”