Barry creator and star Bill Hader is getting a lot of press these days, but in 2005 his name made an impression for the first time The Hollywood Reporter when he and Andy Samberg were “tapped as ‘featured players'” for Saturday Night Live. It would prove to be Hader’s big break – and feed for the HBO series about a hit man longing to be an actor.
on THR‘s 2019 Comedy Showrunner Roundtable, Hader explained: “There’s a scene in the pilot [of Barry] where he sits there with all these actors and Barry looks at them, and that’s me, my first season on Saturday Night Live. That’s me with Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph and Fred [Armisen] and everyone said, ‘I want so badly to be accepted by these people, but I don’t have the skills. They speak a completely different language.’ ”
Still, even with his doubts, Hader showed promise from the start: “During my audition, I met Vinny Vedici, the Italian talk show guy, who did his own impressions,” he explained to THR in February 2015. “Usually the auditions are completely silent, but when I did Vinny Vedici, I heard Tina Fey ‘Haha!’ ”
Seven years after joining the show, he would become the first male cast member to be nominated for a supporting role Emmy since Eddie Murphy in 1984. Although he never won for his four SNL noms (two for support and two for guest), his luck would change with Barryfor which he has earned nominations for writing, acting, directing and comedy series for all three seasons, with lead actors for seasons one and two.
Whether or not he claims the award for a third time this year, the show is a dream come true for Hader, who has admitted that he often worried about his job. SNL and said his greatest ambition since childhood was to become an author-filmmaker. For Hader the real attraction of working on Barry “was to find out what the story is, and to get into the tone and feel of it. And then say, ‘Oh, I think I’ll play Barry.’ “
This story first appeared in a standalone August issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.