Henry Winkler Unpacks ‘Barry’ Season 3 Finale, Reacts to HBO Comedy’s Emmy Nominations

Henry Winkler in Barry
Merrick Morton/ HBO

“Wow.” That’s one way to describe both the Barry Season 3 finale and the recognition the HBO comedy received when the 2022 Emmy nominations were announced on July 12 and it had 14. Among the nominations: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Bill Hader), and two Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Anthony Carrigan and Henry Winkler).

These come after the third season ended with Gene (Winkler) turning in Barry (Hader). And so when we caught up with Winkler to chat about his Emmy nom, we had to see if we could find out what’s next after that.

Congratulations on your nomination — and Barry’s 14! That’s amazing.

Henry Winkler: Thank you. It truly is. This season was a revelation for me.

It was wild. It was such a good season.

Thank you. Early on in my career, in the theater, I heard, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” And the writing of this bunch of human beings is just amazing.

Everything is amazing on the show — the writing, the directing, the acting.

Yeah. Thank you.

Talk about finding out about the nomination.

I was watching television. I was watching JB Smoove, being very smooth and he is just a delight. And then I went immediately to emmys.com and read down the list and there was my name and I thought, hey, that’s an OK picture. Then my children called and I got such lovely tweets and texts and emails.

Henry Winkler, Bill Hader in Barry

Merrick Morton/HBO

I’m very proud because I would be home, I would be working on the script, I thought, “I’ve got this down, I’m ready. I’m just gonna relax, have a V8 a little ice, little lemon, and then I’ll be fine.” And then here I am in Los Angeles, I go into the set, Bill takes me to Peru. I didn’t even think of where he was going. The two of them, Alec Berg and Bill Hader, are extraordinary bosses. They are insightful. They are funny. They’re great writers, wonderful directors. And there’s a policy of no idiots — I cleaned that up for the paper — on the set and the crew. When you are doing a scene and you’re looking at the edge of the lens box and there’s a piece of pink tape and you are acting your heart out to that piece of tape and the operator after the take leans out from behind the lens and the viewfinder and looks at you and just goes, wow. Then you think, well, that is like getting an Academy Award, truly.

Speaking of wow — Gene’s arc this season. When you look back, what stands out to you?

That I start thinking, I’m going to kill this man. My gun falls apart and I’m in his trunk. Let me just say, when I said, could I eat before you take off because I’m gonna get nauseous, I was not joking. I was in that trunk for a long time. Then all Bill said to me is, “they’re going to see just how good an actor Gene is.” And I had no idea what he meant when he told me early on. And then I knew.

Then you get to that finale — what a bold move, but it was also inevitable once Gene found out the truth.

Absolutely. After everything is said and done, that Gene was open enough to let somebody in and he literally loved this woman from his hair roots to his toes and then Barry shot her.

So what can you tease about what’s next for the two after the finale?

I have no idea. I’m not kidding. They tell you very little. Bill’s gonna direct all eight, I think. He’s just unbelievable. The two of them move between producing, writing, directing, and Bill then acting.

What do you imagine the dynamic is gonna be like moving forward between Barry and Gene?

I imagine that Barry is not happy with Gene. I imagine that Barry is PISSED OFF.

And what about Gene?

I imagine Gene is frightened out of his brain. You said, wow, what a bold move. And I think that maybe that was the boldest move of his life.

Bill Hader, Henry Winkler in Barry

Merrick Morton/HBO

Do you think that he could regret turning him in versus killing him?

Oh, that’s a very, very good question. I don’t know… on one hand, I would have it over with. On the other hand, I am still in danger.

Then there’s the question of taking someone’s life and how far Gene would want to go.

That’s also true. In the scene in my office with the gun, I was willing to go all the way. What I was not counting on was the gun falling apart.

How do you think Gene feels about himself after Season 3, compared to where he was at the beginning of it?

From minute to minute, he changed. First he’s “I’m so angry, I’m gonna take this man and either turn him in or kill him,” and then, “you know what, hey, listen, let’s forget the whole thing. No, you know what, I wasn’t gonna say anything. I swear to you on my grandson’s life.” And then Barry shows up and said, “this one and that one are gonna be gone.” Every second there was like, “Oh my God.”

Barry, Season 4, TBA, HBO