Greg Poehler on 'Welcome to Sweden' and the expat experience

Will Ferrell is among the many high profile actors who make special appearances in the comedy series, Welcome To Sweden. (Welcome to Sweden/NBC)


Lawyer-turned-actor Greg Poehler joins guest host Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss his semi-autobiographical sitcom, Welcome To Sweden -- a fish-out-of-water comedy that stars Poehler as a New York accountant who moves to Stockholm to be with his Swedish girlfriend. 

The sitcom, which is already a hit in Sweden, recently made its North American debut. Poehler joins Piya to share the differences between Swedish and American humour, what it's like to work with his older sister Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live), and how his own expat experience differs from the television story.

"People always talk about 'I would give up everything for this person' - but what happens when you do? And the show begins on day one of that, and I'm on year eight of that, and it's still an adjustment," he says. 

A roundabout way to get into Hollywood 

Poehler had the idea for his show as soon as he made the move to Sweden to be with his now wife, but it took a successful stand-up comedy set to get the ball rolling on creating and starring in a television show. 

"It is a very strange, roundabout way to get into Hollywood, especially the Swedish route," Poehler tells Piya. 

"I thought acting was something that you had to commit to early on in life and I felt I just missed that opportunity."

In Welcome To Sweden, Poehler plays on his status as an outsider in a new land, but was sure to bring in Swedish writers to help make sure the show had "universal humour." 

"If there was any joke that didn't play with either the Swedish writers or myself, we just cut it," he says. 

Poehler's work paid-off when he approached older sister Amy Poehler about her and her famous friends doing cameos in the show, and she wanted in on the project too. 

"Then [Amy] came on as an executive producer, so that kind of made it a bigger thing, and also for me, was a really early stamp of approval that what I had written was actually good."

Watch clips from Welcome to Sweden in the window embedded below


Are you an expat, or are you close with someone who is? Does the humour in Welcome to Sweden resonate with you? Tell us your fish-out-of-water story! Piya might read it on air tomorrow.

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