Why Aidy Bryant Said Yes to Hosting the Spirit Awards — and Which SNL Co-Workers She Called on For Help

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“Honestly,” says Aidy Bryant. “I never want to do anything.” The comedian, who left Saturday Night Live in 2022 after 10 years on the show, enjoys being picky in her work. So when her team approached with an offer to host the Spirit Awards, the first thing she asked herself was whether the gig was worth it. “These awards, and what they’re about, really do touch my heart,” she says. “There’s a kind of yuckiness in Hollywood sometimes, and there’s something pure and beautiful about supporting independent film.” Saying yes also gave her an excuse to call up a few of her favorite former co-workers for help writing — Bryant enlisted Sudi Green, whom she wrote with on Shrill, and frequent sketch collaborator Fran Gillespie. Ahead of the show, Bryant spoke to THR about the current Hollywood landscape and what she’ll be doing before the big show.

What’s the secret to the lasting work friendships among SNL castmembers?

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Working at the show can come with so much pressure, so your friendships are forged in fire. It’s not like these are your casual work pals that you grab coffee with — I’ve cried in front of most of them, or they’ve cried in front of me. So when projects like this come up, you think of people you can trust, not just in the good times but in the difficult times. And any of them could call me up and I would do anything for them.

Are there any topics you feel you have to touch on in the monologue? 

I think the strike, especially because this event feels more free from the studio system. This is more internal, for those people who are really in it. The strike affected all of us far and wide, so it would be crazy not to mention it. Personally, I was grappling with how long it took for the studios to come to an arrangement and what a squeeze it was putting on our IATSE and Teamster brethren.

Which past hosts are you using as inspiration — or as an example of what not to do?

I’ve been doing interviews to promote the show and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about, “What parodies are you going to do and who are you going to roast?” And it’s like, “Oh, there’s a certain kind of host template that I had not even thought about.” I can’t be one of those classic male stand-ups. I don’t know how to do that and I shouldn’t try. I’m looking to other SNL alums, I watched Andy Samberg. And Aubrey Plaza has done it amazingly.

Have you met or worked with most of the nominees?

It’s funny — every time they send a list of who’s coming, I’m like, “Oh, they hosted SNL” or “I did improv with that person’s husband 20 years ago.” I do love Charles Melton and I’ve never met him, so I’m very excited to do that.

Do you have any preshow rituals?

What just came to mind is insane — to shower. That seems very baseline, but that’s where my mind goes. Before SNL, I would stretch, honestly, because you do random physical stuff. I got to the point where I was like, “I can’t keep raw-dogging this.” You’re running around or changing underneath bleachers, you have to be safe.

How do you prevent the caffeine shakes while still being energized enough to do a whole night’s worth of sketches?

I don’t drink coffee, and people always thought that was crazy because we had to stay up late. But I do tea, and that helps. The last thing you want is to one, be shaking, or two, have diarrhea. That is not a path for me to perform well. We’re getting to the real stuff here.

What else are you working on besides prepping for the show?

I just turned in a script literally this morning. I’ve also been developing a thing at Peacock, based on a real crime that happened in the ’40s, so that’s been really fun to write. It’s an odd tone, kind of scary but funny. I’ve loved working with Square Peg — which is Ari Aster’s company — on it. It feels very creative and sexy and scary and spooky.

Do you have any more video directing in your future?

You know what? This is a call to arms for all the musicians out there. I’m absolutely available.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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