Say what you want about the ever-oscillating quality of venerable comedy cruise liner Saturday Night Live, there’s nobody in the current cast more welcome and delightful than Aidy Bryant. Rewarded at long last with her own series lead in Hulu’s Shrill, which she also produces, Bryant popped in to see old SNL buddy Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show on Tuesday. Doing a Shrill-inspired bit about embracing who you are by blurting your insecurities out to the world (on national TV), Bryant was her usual, ebulliently funny self. Hey, who wouldn’t be won over by the mental image of two-time Emmy nominee Bryant, barefoot and hungry, eating a pre-Emmys hot dog in the lobby? As a deadpan Bryant told the crowd while introducing the comically cathartic bit, “I think it’s a nice alternative to hating yourself all the time.”
Bryant told Fallon that her role in the adaptation of writer Lindy West’s memoir has led to some truly touching moments. Literally at times, as when a clearly moved fan stopped Bryant on a New York street in tears to tell her how much the show’s message of self-acceptance and body positivity means to her. Noting that the fan’s tears set her off, too, Bryant wound up in a full-on weepy embrace with the stranger, recalling the moment to Fallon as “Oh, we’re havin’ a moment on Sixth Avenue,” before giving in and saying, “Well, we’re doin’ this. I’m in.” Explaining that her Shrill character’s journey is about “a fat woman who’s spent her whole life just trying to literally make herself smaller” who “finally reaches a breaking point” and decides to put all that time and energy into achieving her dreams, Bryant showed a clip about how her writer character’s journey isn’t without its difficulties. (See: trolls.)
But Bryant’s Annie Easton isn’t daunted, and neither is Bryant, whose had to settle into her role as star and producer on Shrill with a few missteps. You know, like thinking that taking the cast of the Portland, Oregon-set show to one of the city’s many fine stripping establishments was a great team-building exercise. Noting the sight of “boobs” and “gines” everywhere, Bryant told Fallon about coming to the realization that, “I’m their boss . . . I’m a bad boss.” Perhaps, but Aidy’s still a boss.