Aidy Bryant is one of the funniest people on television. In the three seasons she has been part of the Saturday Night Live cast, Bryant has made her indelible mark on the show with sketches that immediately went viral, like the Emmy-nominated “(Do It On My) Twin Bed.” Her characters may be slightly off-kilter women, but they always have a steely self-confidence that the viewer can relate to, while laughing their butts off. We talked to the 27-year-old comedian about her childhood, SNL, as well as really important things like the Spice Girls.
Yahoo Style: Let’s start at the beginning. What was your childhood like? Was there a specific moment where you realized you wanted to be a comedian when you grew up?
Aidy Bryant: Oh my. Well when I was a child, I was in need of a lot of attention [laughs], but you know, I was very imaginative. I was always playing little characters around my house or whatever. I did theater summer camps when I was a kid, and I enjoyed them, but they never felt quite right. But then there would always be a tiny improv workshop towards the end of camp, and I would always feel like I liked it so much better. So I started doing improv in high school. I started writing and being more diligent about following that path because I realized it was a lot more fun for me.
YS: Did you discover SNL around this time?
AB: Oh yeah, I was a religious SNL watcher all through middle school. I was obsessed with Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri – they were on right when I found the show. Then I started watching the older episodes and it just totally blew my mind that my dream show already existed.
YS: What was your favorite sketch back then?
AB: I loved “Dog Show.” I thought it was so insane and funny, and I loved the little dogs and (Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell) doing the little voices of the dogs. I go back and watch it a lot, actually.
YS: So what was your very, very first day at SNL like?
AB: I came in at like 10am like, “I’m ready to work!” and nobody got there until like 2pm, so for hours I was just sitting at my desk like, “OK, what are my ideas? Wait, why is no one here?” I realized pretty quickly that since we were going to be working very late nights, everyone came in later.
YS: A show week at SNL is famously long and grueling. Do you have any rituals that you do to try to keep your sanity?
AB: I’ll do very light, very easy yoga in my dressing room. I like to just lay down on the floor and put my legs on the wall and stretch and just be still. So much of what we do is just so intense— working as hard as you can, being on a time crunch— so I always make a point to have a couple of minutes in the day to just relax.
Another thing is I drink so much water! I feel like it’s the only way for me to not get sick! I also have a huge array of moisturizers and sprays that I keep everywhere, at my desk, in my dressing room, in my bag, because it’s really dry in 30 Rock. I am constantly applying stuff and moisturizing.
Blake Shelton, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon in “Wishin’ Boot.”
YS: Where did the idea for the “Wishin’ Boot” sketch come from?
AB: We were all talking about country songs and we watched some music videos and came away like, “Man, they can make anything pretty wistful!” So [writer] Chris Kelly came up with the idea for a wishing boot, and we just went off from there. The whole thing is very specific to, like, country music circa 2007.
YS: I especially loved the wigs you and [cast member] Kate McKinnon wore. They were so amazing!
AB: YES! My lifelong fantasy to be in an insanely long, red, Wynona Judd wig came true.
YS: You rap a lot as well. Do you have a favorite rapper that inspires you?
AB: Drake. I love Drake. Everything Drake.
YS: Your characters are always sexually assertive, strong women. They’re very feminist women. Are you making a conscious effort to bring these characters to television or is that just simply what comes natural to you?
AB: Well I am a feminist, so I naturally bring that point of view. But also, I enjoy playing characters that have some shred of something that I can believe in, characters that are confident, even though maybe they shouldn’t be confident [laughs]. Or maybe they have something that makes their life harder, but they still find power in themselves.
Cameron Diaz, Aidy Bryant and the rest of SNL's female cast in "Back Home Ballers"
YS: I know you are also a big fan of the Spice Girls. Which one was your favorite?
AB: Oh my gosh! Ginger. Ginger was my favorite, and I always wanted to be Ginger, but somehow I always ended up being Baby! I think that must be where “Lil’ Baby Aidy” comes from? I listen to them all the time still.
YS: So what’s your favorite song?
AB: This is a really hard question, actually, because I like all the pump-up anthems, but I also deeply connect with “2 Become 1.” So I think, yes, “2 Become 1.”
YS: If you hadn’t pursued comedy as a career, what other job would you like to have?
AB: I would love to work for a design firm or even a small home goods company that’s just wild and chic! Somewhere with a lot of bright colors.
YS: That definitely makes sense from looking at your Instagram. What is your most prized possession in your apartment?
AB: We have a framed photo of a CTA [Chicago Transit Authority] map that my boyfriend stole from a train when he was in high school.
YS: And now that we have come to the end of our interview, I want to ask the most important question. What emoji do you identify with the most?
AB: [Laughs] Oh my. Well it’s hard for me to choose, but I would say the magic crystal ball. I use that one all the time. I love it deeply. Or maybe the weird little chicken bone.
YS: A crystal ball and a chicken bone? That is a weird and amazing combination!
AB: “Weird and amazing,” I feel like that perfectly captures my ethos, so thank you!