Or as Fey, dressed as Johnny Depp - I guess you had to be there - joked, "Congratulations, Lena. Glad we got you through middle school."
Fey began the show in a sparkly blue halter dress, Poehler in a plunging scarlet gown, and played it somewhat safer than Ricky Gervais, the British comedian who'd hosted the show for three years running.
Which doesn't mean that they weren't funny, whether it was Poehler joking about "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow - "When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron" - or Fey explaining that "Ricky Gervais could not be here tonight because he is technically no longer in show business."
The night, though, belonged to Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Jodie Foster, who followed up a tongue-in-cheek introduction by Robert Downey Jr. with an impassioned speech that began with the declaration, "I'm 50!" and went on to talk about being . . . "single."
"I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago," said Foster, who's famously avoided discussing her private life while never appearing to deny that that life has included raising her two sons with a friend and former lover.
"I am not Honey Boo-Boo child," she said, sounding irked that after "47 years in the film business," anyone would feel she owed them more than her work.
"My reality show would be so boring," she said, noting that if those watching had been public figures since childhood, "you might value privacy," too.
She then paid a tearful tribute to her mother, who's apparently suffering from dementia.
Could there have been a dry eye in the house?
Several awards later, Poehler got the last word, shouting, "We're going home with Jodie Foster!" as the show ended.
As always, there were awards that even the Globes, which move at a clip that make the Oscars look like a plowhorse, couldn't get to:
* Most innovative use of acronyms: To "Game Change" producer and director Jay Roach, who found a new way of thanking HBO (as no one associated with the company ever fails to do, on pain of death), calling it a "Heroic Brave Operation" for making a movie about Sarah Palin's run for vice president
* Best lines about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the much-maligned group that sponsors the awards: To Poehler, who managed to include a swipe at three-time host Ricky Gervais, noting that "when you run afoul of the Hollywood Foreign Press, they force you to host the show two more times." Also: "When left untreated, HFPA . . ."
* Best lines from the Hollywood Foreign Press: To outgoing president Aida Takla-O'Reilly, who said, "As I disappear into the delta twilight . . . I know that Jeffrey Katzenberg will never forget my name because he never knew it in the first place." Then she kind of spoiled it by adding: "Allow me to say three little words to Bradley Cooper - where is he? - 'Call me, maybe.' "
* Best prepared winner: To Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables"), who delivered a polished appreciation to fellow nominee Sally Field ("Lincoln") for leading the fight against typecasting. Said Hathaway, who starred in "The Princess Diaries": "As the girl who started out as the Princess of Genovia," it helped to know that " 'The Flying Nun' grew up to be 'Norma Rae.' "
* Best shout-out to the little people: To winner Claire Danes ("Homeland"), who was eight months pregnant during the final weeks of shooting ("Carrie was, in fact, carrying") and who not only thanked her newborn son, Cyrus, but the wardrobe person who let out her pants "every damn week."
* Luckiest winner: Kevin Costner ("Hatfields & McCoys"), who successfully slid by not one British actor, but three - Clive Owen, Toby Jones and Benedict Cumberbatch - in an awards competition in which an accent has traditionally been a distinct advantage.
* Most belated thank you: By Dunham, who said that she'd promised herself and her mother that if she ever got a chance, she'd thank Chad Lowe (who was famously forgotten by his then-wife Hilary Swank, during her Oscar acceptance speech in 2000).
On Twitter: @elgray