Aidy Bryant on How ‘Shrill’ Tackles Body Issues and Her Future on ‘SNL’

Allyson Riggs

Shrill? She’s just speaking her mind.

Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant is Annie, an optimistic, aspiring writer at the center of this series, adapted from humorist Lindy West’s bestselling 2016 memoir.

Executive produced by West, Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect) and Bryant’s SNL boss Lorne Michaels, the savagely funny and often uncomfortable dramedy explores Annie’s efforts to find her own voice and shut down haters who have no idea how to handle a woman of a certain size.

Here, the effervescent two-time Emmy nominee shares her take on the power of that other F-word and what her inspiring new role means for her late-night gig.

How did you get involved?

Aidy Bryant: Oh, gosh. Well, it started when Elizabeth Banks optioned the book Shrill. When I heard that, I was like, “Oh, I love that book,” so I called my agents. And they were like, “That’s so weird; they just called us about you.” [It was] this beautiful happy accident.

(Allyson Riggs/Hulu)

For a lot of people, the word fat can be hard to hear or say about themselves, but you seem to be reclaiming it.

Yeah, people have a lot of emotions around food and their bodies and being labeled fat or chubby or too thin or too anything. I think there’s something to be said for letting it just be a descriptor, [not] a pejorative.

The pilot has some intensely sharp comedy, as well as a very dramatic turn. What do we see going forward?

I feel like, in a weird way, the first episode is almost not like the rest of the show in that Annie’s totally bogged down by her body and her issues and all these things. I’m excited to see how much more she can get into and how much her world opens up.

How will this impact your future on SNL? Because if this becomes Handmaid’s Tale big…

Wow! [Laughs] OK, well, I can only hope that it becomes [as popular], but I feel very open to seeing what happens. Lorne has been so accommodating, truly helping me do both. This will not be my last season [on SNL], I know that. I will definitely come back because I would be too sad to leave now. At the same time, I don’t know how long I can do two full-time jobs. I wanna live! [Laughs]

Shrill, Series Premiere, Friday, March 15, Hulu