Eddie Bryant She spent a decade of her life as one of the most recognizable players in “Saturday Night Live. But in the afternoon, being photographed in Bryant Park (did you get it?), I manage to catch a stranger. This inquisitive woman raises her neck at Bryant, who is attentive to her own business, as she stands near the New York Public Library in a black dress Sleek and silver shoes.
“In what are you?” The woman asks, discovering a familiar face.
Bryant, 35, is too polite to ignore. She stops in the middle of the pose to drop the name of her most famous job. “I like saying my credits,” Bryant says when a woman is out of earshot.
On SNL, Bryant became a household name by impersonating everyone from Adele to Rebel Wilson — and she has a special talent for playing polarizing political conservatives including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Megan McCain, and (most hilarious) Ted Cruz.
But last month, Bryant left “Saturday Night Live” to say goodbye to her fans and her workplace at home on the NBC show. It was a decision she made on her own, even though it came at a pivotal time in ‘SNL’ history; Her departure felt more like a mass exit, as it coincided with the resignations of Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney.
“It didn’t cross my mind yet,” says Bryant, who has far more mild manners than her more outrageous cartoons.
Now, she’s eager to prove – to herself and Hollywood – that she’s more than just the relevant best friend she’d like to meet on the street. She’s a character who started out as co-creator and star of the Hulu series.”IntenseA comedy about a journalist who slowly gains confidence in her own body.
“I’m not comfortable waiting for roles because I didn’t have much success there,” Bryant says. “Everything that worked for me was by writing it myself.”
She is still building the next chapter in her career, amplifying topics not explored on TV, including developing the Peacock animated series “Cheeky,” a collection of funny first-person stories about the human body.
“I probably always write to work through my shyness about my body or my standards of sexuality and femininity,” she says. “These are the things that interest me in ways that I find funny and crazy.”
Why did you decide to leave Saturday Night Live?
If it wasn’t for COVID, I might have left a few years ago. But it was such a massive change. When COVID hit, it was so upsetting that we were all like, “I’ll definitely be back next year.” Then I had to shoot Cheryl for half of last season, and so I missed a lot. And then it was like, “Okay, now I have to go back in.” I kept trying to find another normal year. This year wasn’t the normal year I would have hoped for, but it was closer to it. It was like, “Okay, it’s really time now.” And I felt that the number 10 is a beautiful, powerful round number.
How did you tell Lorne Michaels you were leaving?
Maybe in March or April, I went to his office and said, “I have to talk to you.” I was afraid because I feel close to him and I feel grateful to him. I didn’t want him to come as if I was leaving angrily. I am leaving with much love. He said, “I understand, and that makes sense to you.”
Compared to earlier eras, “SNL” cast members seem to have more flexibility to work on other TV shows and movies. Are there still things that you feel you are unable to do?
‘SNL’ schedule is huge. I did and developed a show and made three seasons of the show [“Shrill”] Which I’m so proud of, but there’s a part of me that wonders what it would have been if I didn’t have to split my time like that. In those years, it wasn’t uncommon for me to work 12 hours a day on “Shrill” and then work all day on “SNL” – and all night! So it will be a day of 22 hours. I can’t do that anymore. Maybe I can in my twenties. But now I’m in my thirties, and I say, “That’s a summary of those days.”
How did you decide on your last drawing?
Two weeks ago, a producer said, “Is there something you want to do?” But I was worried that I would feel like I was at my funeral. And I don’t feel like I’m dying. I’m on to the next thing. I was embarrassed trying to do something big.
why? I’ve been on the show for 10 years!
I don’t know. It felt really final, and I don’t feel like my relationship with the show is over.
You ended up saying goodbye during Weekend update section With Bowen Yang and Michael Che. How do you feel about the result?
I was worried that I would open it wide open and just cry. I was thrilled, and felt incredibly fortified by having Bowen and Che next to me because they knew me and knew what it was like for me.
Was the after-party more raucous than usual since so many of the cast members were leaving the show?
Our year-end party is the biggest. It’s kind of exhausting because it’s four times the size of a normal after-party. Maya [Rudolph’s] Introduced the band, which was fun. They are Prince’s cover band. It was a lot of hugging and people were like, “No, but seriously. I love you so much.” Very summer end camp atmosphere. Energy log in my yearbook.
Looking back in your time on “SNL,” is there one graphic you’re most proud of on the show?
“Dyke and Fats” because Kate [McKinnon] And I was still new. I got so excited to talk about ourselves this way on an NBC show. That was an early win.
Do you have a sketch that ran away – something that was never aired?
There was one in my first season called Foam Party, and they built a huge tank so they could fill the whole group with foam. She played a woman who lost all her belongings in the foam. People were dancing in a hateful club, and I was like, “Oops, did you see…whatever.” I ate the whole shit [in dress rehearsal] Because I was wearing a short wig, huge, foam-covered glasses. The audience was honestly like, “Who is this? What’s going on?” I think it’s going to work now because they’re going to be like, “This is Aidy. We know; we trust.” This one is haunting me.
Have any hosts surprised you?
Kim Kardashian did well and was ready for anything. She totally came out of her cockpit, and she’s so brave and amazing she did.
What was your reaction when you saw that she and Pete Davidson were dating?
I will not speak of it respectfully. I love him.
She looks pretty close to new cast members like Bowen and Sarah Sherman. Did being a veteran make you want to take people under your wing?
I don’t consider myself a guide. When I started the show, I was 25 years old. I used to work in Second City, but I didn’t write for TV and didn’t watch TV. There was a huge learning curve. I remember seeing Fred [Armisen]kenan [Thompson]Jason Sudeikis and Bill [Hader] And being like, “Not only do they write funny things, but there’s a whole level of live TV technical knowledge you have to learn.” There is not much guidance. It’s in common – I don’t want to say shocking, but it’s like shock and triumph. It took me a long time to find a proper compromise within that and I don’t feel like I’m shooting at the moon and shooting at hell every time.
How did you find that middle ground?
For a long time, I thought you’d write something funny, and it would appear on the show. But between choosing it and broadcasting it, there are hundreds of small decisions that you have to make. Your job is to protect your business and work with production designers and department heads. This enablement. But when you first start out, you’re like, “I can’t tell them what to do.”
How do you feel about joining ‘SNL’?
He’s been around forever, so he doesn’t need you. It’s like a machine that actually works without you. And you’re like, “Am I like a wheel? Am I a whistle? Am I a coal?” Like, “How can I help this thing?”
What was it like balancing “Shrill” and “SNL” at the same time?
When “Shrill” started, I didn’t feel like leaving SNL. I was like, “This is a story I want to tell, and it shows different muscles.” Lorne’s idea was to do both. How can I say no? After that, I didn’t sleep for three years.
Did you know that Season 3 will be the last season of “Shrill” before it was written?
No, they told us after he was shot. There were a few things we ended up taking out that were cliffs. There were also editorial and musical choices to help make her feel more finished.
Have you thought about your character Annie and her boyfriend Will [played by Cameron Britton]Will they end up together?
I thought they wouldn’t end up together forever, but it will be one of those pivotal relationships where you learn a lot about yourself so your next relationship will be even better. I’ve had two of these.
Are you disappointed that ‘Cheryl’ has been cancelled?
Yes, but I’m glad how it turned out.
What can you tell me about your new show “Cheeky”?
It’s my sweet little side baby. It is based on this book that goes through every part of the body. Each episode deals with a different topic: breasts, breeches, menstruation, food, dressing. She interviews comedians, children, seniors, and all kinds of people for evaluation. And it’s all photographed.
Will you watch ‘SNL’?
I would be sad not to watch it. Also, I’m really excited about this cast. There are so many of us leaving, it will create more space for people to shine.
Do you want to host someday?
Absolutely. But it is up to them.