Another member of the Poehler family has arrived on U.S. network television and he’s brought a whole lot of crayfish and aquavit with him.
Greg Poehler, younger brother of comedienne Amy Poehler, stars in the new sitcom Welcome to Sweden, a classic fish out of water tale with a Nordic twist that debuts on NBC July 10 at 9 p.m. EST. Loosely based on Poehler’s real life move to Scandinavia eight years ago, the romantic comedy tells the story of Bruce Evans, a successful money manager to the stars, who gives up his cushy New York City life to move to Sweden to be with his love Emma Wiik, played by Solsidan actress Josephine Bornebush. Culture clashes ensue and the usual external factors appear including language barriers, difficulty fitting in, quirky family members and Emma’s disapproving mother Viveka, convincingly played by veteran actress Lena Olin. Patrick Duffy stars as Bruce’s conservative father and Illeana Douglas as his pill-popping, clueless mother. Amy Poehler delights as a wicked version of herself and Will Farrell, Malin Ackerman, KISS’s Gene Simmons and Aubrey Plaza all make cameo appearances.

Read our interview: 'Ambassador of two home countries'


Fourteen years ago, Poehler was living a very different life, working as an attorney in a New York City law firm. He fell in love with his Swedish co-worker and they had a child together. In 2006, disillusioned by a dizzying, stressful work schedule that left little time to spend with their new child, the couple made the life changing decision to relocate to Sweden.
Fast forward to a few years ago, when despite no previous performing experience, Poehler was literally pushed on stage by a friend at a Stockholm comedy club. It felt right, and he began performing stand up regularly in the city — the catalyst for the career change from lawyer to comedian.
Having had the show concept in his head for years, Poehler sat up in his attic on a snowy winter day two years ago and wrote the pilot episode. He researched “how to write a script” to make sure the format looked professional. He sent it to his sister, who immediately came on board, and with her clout behind them, the siblings formed their own production company, Syskon (Swedish for "sibling"). They sold the show to TV4 and became the network’s first-ever English speaking series. Syskon filmed 10 episodes last summer, mostly in Stockholm, with Greg serving as the creator, head writer and show runner, and with both siblings as executive producers. NBC bought the American rights last October, and the show debuted in Sweden in March; the ratings were through the roof, resulting in the show being renewed for a second season after just two episodes.

Greg Poehler is a really funny guy and seems to be exactly the same person you see on television — charming, witty, a tad self deprecating, and with a healthy penchant for a particular expletive. He’s a comedic natural which may explain why Variety Magazine has named him one of the Top Ten Comics to Watch in 2014.
Now 39 years old, he lives a relatively normal life in the Stockholm suburb of Stocksund with his wife Charlotta and his three children Ben, Charlie and Lily. Calling from his kitchen on the Monday after the midsommar holiday, and with his daughter on his lap, he immediately apologizes that the babysitter cancelled and that I may hear sporadic kid noises in the background. The laughter starts a few seconds later as we awkwardly attempt to converse in Swedish, and it never stops throughout the conversation. He chuckles heartily as he processes the idea that something quite obvious may have slipped by the NBC censors.
But this is an all around good guy and you won’t find any pretense or star trappings with this expat. With just days to go until his American television debut, he is surprisingly relaxed and pragmatic as he ponders the possible success of his new show. And much like his onscreen character Bruce, there is an almost endearing boyish naivety to the possibility that his show could end up being a smash hit and that life changing celebrity and notoriety may be lurking just around the corner.