Bill Hader’s darkly comic hitman series Barry just got picked up for a second season by HBO and is garnering fine reviews from pretty much everyone. (Including our own Vikram Murthi, who gave last week’s cliffhanger-ending episode a straight-up A.) Perhaps that’s why Hader is suddenly ubiquitous on late-night TV. Or maybe it’s because he’s just one of the funniest, seemingly nicest guys around, as evidenced by his Thursday appearances on both Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
On Conan, Hader was Conan O’Brien’s latest wingman in indifferent button-mashing as the two teamed up as Kratos, killing elk and snapping necks in a God Of War-themed installment of O’Brien’s continuing “Clueless Gamer” series. The gag, as ever, is that Conan (and Hader, as it turns out) doesn’t particularly care for video games, and the pair made merry, improvisational sport of the newest God Of War sequel’s high-def gore. The fact that, this time, the burly, berserker Kratos is saddled with a whiny, talkative young son who looks like a weedy little Conan was just an added comedy bonus that had Hader and O’Brien hilariously losing it throughout. Wincing at the father-son bloodshed, Hader, as Kratos, could only riff, “Well, you’re properly fucked up now, son.”
Hader has proven exceptionally well-suited to playing his own brand of fucked up on Barry, something he and Jimmy Kimmel delved into on Kimmel’s Thursday show. Mostly, however, the all-around enjoyable two-segment appearance was an excuse for Hader to break out some of his signature impressions. After answering a robust “Yes!” when Kimmel suggested that it must be annoying to be asked to do said impressions all the time, the genial Hader relished the chance to rise to Kimmel’s challenge to do some of his more obscure impersonations. (If you doubted that Hader had Dateline correspondents Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Dennis Murphy, and Lester Holt in his back pocket, then shame on you.) But Hader’s most affectionate impression came when he recreated the late-night phone calls he regularly gets from Barry co-star and fellow nicest guy in Hollywood Henry Winkler, who, it turns out, is always just as shocked by Barry’s plot twists as the rest of us. “You’re kind of a sonofagun,” Hader gasped in Winkler’s enthusiastic voice. A uniquely funny sonofagun at that.
Barry airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.