Bill Hader Is Headlining HBO's Strange New Comedy

When’s the last time you heard somebody else’s idea and you were convinced it came as close to perfection as humanly possible? That is going to happen to you today, and it involves Bill Hader’s first shot as a series lead for Barry, which has received a pilot order from HBO.

So Hader fronting a series is the first point of awesomeness here, and the second point is the unconventional narrative Barry will follow. Hader will play an ex-Marine whose present day activities include murder, as he’s a cut-rate hitman settled in the Midwest with an existence marred by loneliness and frustration. At least, that’s what he’s doing until a job takes him into Los Angeles where he falls in with a group of optimistic actors in the city’s theater scene. Aren't we all just murderers-for-hire looking for a way to express ourselves?

The third reason for unbound glee for Barry is that Hader is not only the titular character here, but he also the writer, executive producer and director, and he’ll be joined in writing and EP duties by current Silicon Valley writer/producer Alec Berg, according to Deadline. Hader isn’t particularly known for writing scripted projects, and hasn’t directing anything before, but he’s one of the co-creators behind IFC’s stellar Documentary Now!, and it’s likely this will be of a similar high quality. For his part, Berg has a dream resume, having been a writer/producer on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and he also wrote for Conan O’Brien and co-penned The Dictator and Larry David’s Clear History.

It goes without saying (but will be said anyway) that Barry being on HBO is excellent for all kinds of reasons. The product of Hader’s development deal with the network, Barry has a chance to follow Silicon Valley as the HBO’s next future classic comedy. Of course, it’ll also have to be better than Danny McBride and Jody Hill’s upcoming comedy Vice Principals, which boasts the beastly Walton Goggins, Busy Phillips and Shea Whigham as cast members. Speaking of casts, I’m really hoping that Hader gets to pick and choose from the plethora of actors he’s worked with in the past to co-star on Barry.

As Hader was reaching the end of his run on Saturday Night Live, he entered into a prolific acting period that still hasn’t let up. He’s starred in everything from The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby to The Awesomes to Inside Out, with tons of stuff in between. (Like South Park, which he also did some writing on.) He was last seen on the big screen in Trainwreck, and he’ll play another titular character in Steven Spielberg’s BFG. He’ll be heard in the upcoming animated films The Angry Birds Movie and Sausage Party. And let’s not forget his memorably short stint as the new captain on Brooklyn Nine-Nine earlier this season.

Here’s hoping this pilot is good enough to warrant a series order, or HBO might be getting a “call” from a someone in Barry’s line of work.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.