While the women of “Saturday Night Live,” like Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig, have had little trouble reaping Emmy nominations of late, it had been 11 years since a male cast member was nominated (Will Ferrell, 2001). That streak ended this summer when Bill Hader earned a bid as Comedy Supporting Actor.
Hader has been on the long-running variety series since 2005 and admitted that a nomination at this point came as a real surprise. In a video chat with Gold Derby, he recalled his earliest days on the show: “I was terrified. I had only really been performing comedy for about a year and a half when I got ‘SNL.’ It was like being in elementary school at Second City in L.A., and then suddenly you’re at Harvard. My attitude when I first started was just to kind of sit back and learn as much as I could.”
Already an Emmy winner in 2009 for producing Best Animated Program winner “South Park,” this is his first nod as a performer. His competition is Max Greenfield (“New Girl“) and the four “Modern Family” co-stars Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O’Neill, and Eric Stonestreet.
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For the Emmy judging panel, he has submitted the episode hosted by Katy Perry. In that show, he did impressions of Alan Alda, Clint Eastwood, and Prince Philip, but it was his breakout character Stefon who was the highlight. Stefon is a flamboyant correspondent on “Weekend Update” who makes bizarre nightclub recommendations.
Of the character, Hader said, “We tried it first as a sketch with Ben Affleck where we were pushing a movie, and they were brothers pitching it as a family movie. Then we tried it again actually as a restaurant with Bradley Cooper, and that didn’t make it past dress (rehearsal). It’s not really working. Then Doug Abeles, who was running ‘Weekend Update’ at the time, came up to me and (writer) John Mulaney and said, ‘You know what? I love Stefon. If you ever want to do him on ‘Update,’ simplify it a little bit so it’s just him behaving and him just pitching stuff.’”
Hader recently appeared as Andy Warhol in the film “Men in Black 3” and will be returning for his eighth season of “Saturday Night Live” in late September.