×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

SXSW: Aidy Bryant Reflects on Quitting Twitter, Importance of ‘Shrill’ Character as ‘Hero’

“Saturday Night Live” and “Shrill” star Aidy Bryant knows what it’s like to be in the public eye and “be called a fat, disgusting pig constantly,” she said at SXSW Monday. But that is all the more reason she felt it was important to make her upcoming Hulu comedy series and make “this person the hero of the show.”

Shrill” is based on Lindy West’s 2016 memoir of the same name and follows Bryant as a fictional version of West, named Annie, as she goes through trials and tribulations with her friends and at work, culminating in the quintessential moment in West’s book when she writes an online article about being fat.

“It wouldn’t be a realistic show about a female journalist if there weren’t people calling her a fat pig and threatening to kill her. It just had to be in there,” said West on the SXSW panel moderated by Variety‘s Jenelle Riley.

In addition to starring in the show, Bryant is also a writer on the project, which allowed her to use her own experiences in adapting West’s story for the small screen.

Bryant has experienced similar online harassment, notably after her portrayal of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on “Saturday Night Live.” Such negativity prompted her to quit Twitter, which she called “a bad space” at the Austin, Texas festival.

“The thing that shocked me [was] every time I played Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I would get a ton a tweets,” said Bryant. “Fifty percent of the people would be conservative people being like, ‘You are a fat, disgusting pig who should not play this strong, independent woman. Then, the other 50% were like, ‘Aidy is too beautiful to play this fat, disgusting liar.’”

It was the two distinct types of harassment that ended up being the breaking point for Bryant. “I think it’s really disgusting to reduce both of us to our looks and both of us to being a pig. Whether what you like what she says or not, we should not be reduced to being called pigs.”

Social media aside, “Shrill” marks the first time Bryant will top-line a project, which was at once both exhilarating and terrifying for the actress.

“My entire career, truly up to this point has been about ensemble,” said Bryant. “When I was at Second City, at “SNL,” I’m part of a troupe. There is, for me, discomfort in being like, ‘OK, I’m the one. I’m up front. I’m the one person on the poster,’ you know? In that part of me, I identify with Annie. But, I’m working toward feeling comfortable.”

What helped her actually feel more comfortable with the additional responsibility and visibility was the collaborative process, particularly among the show’s writers. “What was nice was we were able to find the pieces of the story that felt very universal,” she said of the writers’ room.

While finding those relatable moments was an important part of making “Shrill” a reality, Bryant’s dual roles as star and writer meant the series could stand apart from the book without losing its message of empowerment and body positivity.

“People are not used to fat people doing anything,” Bryant said. “That was just all the more reason I felt totally compelled to make this show.”

“Shrill” launches Mar. 15 on Hulu.

More TV

  • Al Burton

    Al Burton, 'Jeffersons' and 'Diff’rent Strokes' Producer, Dies at 91

    Television producer and executive Al Burton, known for his work on “The Jeffersons” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” died Tuesday at his home in San Mateo, California. He was 91. Burton leaves behind a six-decade legacy of hit television shows that also included “One Day at a Time,” “Silver Spoons,” “Square Pegs” and “Facts of Life.” However, long [...]

  • Dwyane Wade Sets Multi-Year Development Deal

    Dwyane Wade Sets Multi-Year Development Deal at WarnerMedia

    Dwayne Wade is bouncing his way into WarnerMedia’s court. The retired NBA All Star has signed a multi-faceted, multi-year deal with the company, including a development deal via his 59th & Prairie Entertainment production banner. Part of the deal sees Wade sign on as a commentator at Turner Sports. He is set to make appearances [...]

  • Katie Couric Sheryl Sandberg

    Katie Couric Steamrolls Sheryl Sandberg in Roving Vanity Fair Summit Interview

    Sending a jolt through a luxurious and excessively polite afternoon in Beverly Hills, veteran journalist Katie Couric delivered a relentless series of hardball questions to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday. Speaking in conversation at the sixth annual Vanity Fair New Establishment summit at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Couric’s [...]

  • EVIL is a psychological mystery that

    CBS Renews 'Evil,' Orders Full Seasons of Four Other Freshman Shows

    CBS is doubling down on all its new shows. The network has renewed “Evil” for a second season, and handed out full-season orders to its other four freshman series, namely “All Rise,” “Carol’s Second Act,” “The Unicorn,” and “Bob Hearts Abishola.” “Evil” is set to conclude its 13-episode first season (creators Michelle and Robert King [...]

  • Jamie Lee Curtis

    Jamie Lee Curtis to Produce Military Drama With Put Pilot Order at Fox

    Jamie Lee Curtis is teaming up with April Fitzsimmons and Berlanti Productions for a drama project that has received a put pilot order at Fox. Titled “Chain of Command,” the one-hour project follows a young Air Force investigator with radical crime-solving methodology who returns to her hometown to join a military task force that doesn’t [...]

  • Michael MannLACMA: Art and Film Gala,

    TV News Roundup: Michael Mann to Direct and Executive Produce HBO Max's 'Tokyo Vice'

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO Max names MIchael Mann as a director and executive producer of “Tokyo Vice” and Chip and Joanna Gaines announce the first original series coming to the couple’s Magnolia Network. DATES Netflix announced a six-episode docuseries centered on Nasty Cherry, the latest all-female group signed to Charli XCX’s label will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content