Saturday Night Live vet Bill Hader has been riding high off the success of HBO’s Barry. He received back-to-back Best Actor Emmys for playing the anxiety-filled hitman Barry Berkman, and despite the vast differences between the two shows, his days on SNL informed his HBO work. Early in his career, Hader lived for viewers’ and critics’ reactions after every episode. Doing so led to the SNL vet and others learning an important lesson about pleasing viewers.
Working on the late-night sketch show helped the Barry actor to navigate the high praise and Emmy love that he has received over the last few years. He admitted to THR that receiving awards is a huge honor but not the motivating force behind crafting the HBO dark comedy, which is a perspective the he gained during his first two seasons on SNL. Hader recalled how reading weekly reviews and reactions changed him:
With as polarizing as the late-night sketch show can be (particularly when lampooning real-life people and events), Bill Hader learned that ignoring the naysayers and just creating what you love was the best strategy he and his cohorts could adopt. Luckily, Hader learned this early in his career.
That doesn’t mean that the comedian’s time wasn’t regret-free like certain of his Stefan “Weekend Update” moments or an unaired Justin Bieber sketch. Of course, the Documentary Now! star left a major impression as one of the show's best performers, even after fellow SNL alum Kate McKinnon surpassed his sketch record. (Both are well behind longtime SNL star Kenan Thompson when it comes to sketch total, however!)
If you watch Barry, you can tell that the comedy is just about exploring every avenue when it comes to telling the hitman-turned-aspiring actor’s story. In this era of his career, it appears that Hader takes critiques with a grain of salt. The SNL alum admitted that he and the show’s writers just laugh at the negative responses. Thankfully, Season 3 of Barry was well-received with talks of Hader scoring another Emmy nom.
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