Mr. Michaels was not surprised at the scale of the two women’s ambitions. “I’ve watched them become mothers and people who run things, and they always do it with an eye on the integrity,” he said.
Ms. Pell, 52, has known Ms. Fey and Ms. Poehler since the ’90s, and wrote jokes for them on the set of “Sisters,” as she will when they host “S.N.L.” on Dec. 19. “They’re both very beautifully uncompromising when it comes to what they’re doing,” she said. “They’re both strong women; they both know when they’re not going to back off something. I finally learned to be like that — it has taken me many more years.”
Though the two have vowed never to host the Oscars, Ms. Poehler may end up at the ceremony thanks to her role in “Inside Out,” the critically beloved blockbuster Pixar film about a young girl’s emotions. Voicing the main character Joy changed her, she said, “in a million different ways. Just being a part of it and talking to my kids about it. Doing it was really cathartic.”
Ms. Fey’s next film, due in the spring, is a war comedy in the vein of “M*A*S*H,” she said, based on Kim Barker’s memoir “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Ms. Fey plays Ms. Barker (now a reporter for The New York Times); she’s a producer of the film, too. It is the kind of mainstream feature that rarely focuses on women. Even in “Sisters,” Ms. Poehler said, “there’s an underlying theme, if you will, about a sense of agency.” The message is that “you can create your own spark. And if you have another woman to support you,” she added, “you can be very, very powerful.”
Though off-screen they are not as raunchy as the R-rated siblings, the fantasy that they are as fun to hang out with as they appear on camera is, pleasingly, true. They still organize snack runs when they work late — “There’s nothing likes a fast-food smell when you’re doing a night shoot,” Ms. Poehler said — and keep an active joke text chain with their former “S.N.L.” clan.
“We have this really safe bond that I don’t think anyone else, even our spouses, can really compete with,” Ms. Rudolph said.
As a duo, Ms. Fey and Ms. Poehler can complement, or parallel. “They’re both used to getting their own way, and they just do it in different ways,” Mr. Michaels said.
Ms. Fey said, “One choice that I feel like I made to not be immersed in the culture of Hollywood is to not live here.”
“And I,” Ms. Poehler said, “sleep on top of the H on the Hollywood sign. And I will not move! You will have to tear me out.”