Bill HaderLatest News and Opinion
Posted Monday 5/14/18 at 11:28PM EDT
Barry's season finale was so good that it should perhaps call it quits
"The end of the first season of Barry was so good it made me never want to watch the show again," says James Poniewozik, adding: "It was an excellent season finale. But it would have been one hell of a gutsy series finale." Poniewozik fears that shows that keep getting renewed past their perfect endings are resulting in the loss of the concept of leaving the viewer wanting more -- like what Arrested Development should've done. "In part," he says, "this situation is the side effect of a good thing: With more TV outlets serving more-targeted audiences, a daring, unconventional show has a decent chance of surviving. With dozens of cable outlets and the seemingly bottomless pockets of Netflix and Amazon (soon to be joined by Apple), TV is becoming a 'more' machine. TV series are becoming like athletes going on a season or three past when they should have retired."
- Barry is the rare show that takes the consequences of its main character's actions seriously, but is that sustainable?
- Barry demonstrates how performances are often a smoke screen for desiring real human connection
- Bill Hader says "they're both very hard" when asked to compare acting badly vs. acting convincingly
Posted Saturday 5/12/18 at 12:41AM EDT
Killing Eve and Barry make us care deeply about assassins
"Both Barry and Killing Eve make us fascinated by, and even feel compassion for, contract killers in a way that is often more heartbreaking than titillating," says Allison Keene of the respected BBC America and HBO series. "Both series completely subvert our expectations about who these characters are and what they ultimately want. They’re fascinating not because they are killers, but because of who they are outside of that, which is purposefully well-defined. We’re meant to get drawn in, shocked, and then drawn in again in increasingly emotional ways." ALSO: Henry Winkler beat out John Lithgow for Barry role.
Posted Monday 5/07/18 at 10:00PM EDT
Barry is the latest comedy to become serious, just like recent episodes of Black-ish and Brooklyn Nine-Nine
All three comedies turned in dramatic episodes over the past week. Barry, in particular, had an episode that is "potentially jarring," says Alan Sepinwall. "That three comedies all took dramatic turns in the same week of 2018 isn’t all that shocking, particularly when all three have done it before," says Sepinwall. "Black-ish has done incredibly powerful work about race in America (most notably the episode 'Hope,' where the Johnsons talk about the recent spate of innocent black people shot by law-enforcement). Brooklyn‘s first episode of May a year ago was also a serious one, as Terry got racially profiled by a white cop. And from the start, Barry has taken the deaths Barry inflicts very seriously, even as much of the show’s focus is on the comic juxtaposition of a hitman taking an acting class. But the degree to which each show was creatively successful, or not, provides some object lessons on when and how is the right time for sitcoms to get heavy, and whether certain types of shows are just better-equipped to try."
Posted Friday 5/04/18 at 10:26PM EDT
Barry has become a subtle satire on the lust for fame
Bill Hader's HBO comedy is a bit too realistic for those who've been in an acting class. "Six episodes into its eight-episode first season," says Willa Paskin, "it’s become clear that Barry is a show of surprising depth and subtlety, equally adept at broad humor about Bitmoji-loving gangsters and deadpan jokes about the Gersh Agency. In particular, its depiction of the classes its titular contract killer takes feels mortifyingly familiar, a specific and ever-so-slightly exaggerated version of the real, desperate thing."
Posted Friday 5/04/18 at 1:46AM EDT
Conan O'Brien on shrinking his talk show to 30 minutes "I’ve been pushing for this for a while"
Conan says his new show will still likely have a monologue and at least one celebrity guest, but he wanted to do "something that fits the modern landscape, that certainly fits the way I interact with my fans more. I was looking for something more lean and agile.” TBS and TNT president Kevin Reilly pointed out that the 30-minute show wouldn't necessarily mean less content. There will be more opportunity to do non-show things like an upcoming live tour with his Team Coco comedians and "Clueless Gamer" segments, as well as "Conan Without Borders." “It’s not going to be a whole new Conan with a shaved head and an eye patch and a falcon on his shoulder,” says Conan.
- Conan says doing "Conan Without Borders" inspired him to make the change: "At this stage in my career I’d like to do much more of the stuff I love and am passionate about"
- Conan briefly considered an hourlong weekly format, but he ultimately "felt more comfortable" with a daily 30 minutes
- Watch Conan and Bill Hader tackle God of War for "Clueless Gamer"
Posted Thursday 4/12/18 at 1:02PM EDT
HBO renews Barry and Silicon Valley
After just three episodes, Bill Hader's hitman comedy has been picked up for a second season, while Silicon Valley will return for Season 6.
Posted Friday 3/23/18 at 9:54PM EDT
Bill Hader's Barry takes on TV's antihero fixation with an unappealing and terrifying beta male
Hader's HBO hitman series is essentially the anti-antihero. "Barry, a people-killing protagonist, is a throwback not to the distant past, but to just a few years ago, when the antihero was TV’s cutting-edge archetype," says Willa Paskin. "But Barry is also an of-the-moment leading man, which is to say, he’s actively difficult to like. Atlanta’s Earn Marks and Girls’ Hannah Horvath are objectively less evil, though purposefully less appealing than Walter White or Tony Soprano, horrible men whose charisma drew audiences to them anyway. Barry is akin to the first set of characters, even though he breaks the law like the second. Like Earn, Barry’s depressed, repressed, lethargic. He’s a uniquely passive gunslinger, a sad man with a self-serving interior justification that’s as dull as it is twisted: He’s a middle manager of violence, just doing what he’s told. Barry’s the unappealing, unambitious antihero, a villain who dreams of being a boring suburban dad."
- Barry should be off-putting, yet the pacing and acting make it addictive
- HBO puts so much emphasis on finding the perfect one-hour drama when its half-hour dramedies are more effective
- Barry is a mashup that "puts the chocolate of premium cable into its peanut butter, its gun into its greasepaint"
- Bill Hader's "hot" flexing facial muscle is the true star of Barry
- Barry is a direct descendant of 1940s film noir
- Barry is full of smart choices, balancing Hollywood satire, character comedy, and noir tendencies beautifully with a perfect cast
- Barry is two shows: A Hollywood satire and a dark comedy that hangs together more often than not, but not everything works
- It's a bittersweet dramedy that's uncomfortably funny and simultaneously dark and tense
- How Saturday Night Live inspired Barry
Posted Friday 3/23/18 at 2:35PM EDT
Bill Hader and Jay Pharoah agree Justin Bieber was the "worst-behaved" SNL guest
“I mean, we both know,” Pharoah said on Watch What Happens Live. “Yeah, it was Bieber,” said Hader. “He just was in a bad place. Maybe he’s in a better place, but then he was in a very … it was rough.” Hader previously detailed Bieber's terrible time hosting in a 2013 interview with Howard Stern.
Posted Tuesday 3/20/18 at 9:58AM EDT
Bill Hader reveals what John Mulaney said to make him break character as Stefon on SNL
“John Mulaney writes Stefon and is our dear friend, and he came out as Stefon’s lawyer…. As well as a ‘conceptual piss artist.'” Hader recalled to Seth Meyers. “And he whispered in my ear to make me laugh, ‘My girlfriend works at Yoshinoya Beef Bowl,’ which is a restaurant chain in L.A.”
Posted Sunday 3/18/18 at 3:44AM EDT
Chadwick Boseman and Cardi B booked for their SNL debuts
The Black Panther star will host Saturday Night Live on April 7, joined by rapper Cardi B, who is also performing for the first time on the Studio 8H stage.
Posted Wednesday 3/14/18 at 6:35PM EDT
SNL continues its elaborate promo trend with Bill Hader
Watch Chris Redd and Pete Davidson make the Saturday Night Live alum uncomfortable by rapping about how he is their comedy god/new dad.
Posted Monday 3/12/18 at 6:57AM EDT
Sterling K. Brown's SNL episode was "almost great"
Some fine actors flounder on SNL because the writers don't know what to do with them or they just aren't good at live TV. "As it turns out," says Dennis Perkins, "Brown is one of those actors whose dedication and talents (he’s an experienced theater actor) provide an irresistible focus for the show to build around." And Brown's stellar effort started with a superb monologue. "Now that’s how you do an SNL monologue," says Perkins. "Tight, anchored by the host’s strengths, and no musical numbers or audience questions. Sterling K. Brown came out and planted a flag ...The monologue is thankless. Standups have it best, but mainly because they can just do six minutes of their act in isolation from what has traditionally been the home of Saturday Night Live’s laziest ideas. (Which, okay, is saying something.) Doing jokes about his series This Is Us and its reputation for heavy-duty tearjerking might have been expected, but Brown’s commitment to replicating his character’s justifiably lauded penchant for emotionally devastating speeches made the whole monologue lift off and soar."
- SNL ratings slip to a season low with the This Is Us star as host
- SNL had Brown film a "Video Diary" throughout the week
- Brown nailed Ben Carson in hilarious This Is Us parody
- Chris Harrison praises SNL's The Bachelor spoof, starring Kate McKinnon as Robert Mueller
- Bill Hader reveals he was kicked out of Kate McKinnon's SNL audition for loudly laughing
Posted Tuesday 2/20/18 at 1:46PM EST
SNL books Sterling K. Brown and Bill Hader
This Is Us star Brown will host for the first time on March 10, joined by musical guest James Bay. SNL alum Hader will host for the second time on March 17, with Arcade Fire as the musical guest. Hader previously hosted in 2014.
Posted Thursday 1/18/18 at 9:48PM EST
Bill Hader will star in Pringles’ very first Super Bowl ad
“More people will see me in this than they have in the past three movies I’ve been in,” the SNL alum jokes in a preview of his 30-second commercial for the potato chip brand.
Posted Friday 1/12/18 at 5:54AM EST
Bill Hader admits his SNL anxiety inspired his new HBO hitman comedy Barry
"It's the idea that this thing you’re really good at is actually kind of destroying you," Hader said at the TV press tour. "And I kind of related to that on SNL."