Aidy Bryant on letting go of body shame on ‘Shrill’ and expecting the unexpected on ‘Saturday Night Live’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Aidy Bryant “connected with so much of the material” in Lindy West‘s book “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman.” She identified with its message about “letting go of a lot of the shame that we have about our bodies and fear of being labeled fat or shrill.” So she teamed up with West and Alexandra Rushfield (“Parks and Recreation”) to adapt the book into a new Hulu series. Watch our exclusive video interview with Bryant above.

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Bryant plays Annie Easton, an overweight woman who decides to stop trying to change her body and instead focuses on improving her life. Throughout the first season she works to define herself as a journalist while dealing with friendships, toxic boyfriends, and sickly parents.

“We wanted to have this fat woman at the center of the story who’s the hero,” Bryant explains. Annie “has a complicated life, and a full life.” The actress didn’t want to use “her body as a punchline.” Instead, she hoped to explore her character “more deeply.”

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Although “Shrill” is unique in that regard, Bryant feels that “in a lot of ways, our show is really traditional. It’s the same template as ‘Mary Tyler Moore,'” in that her character “works, she has her friends, she has her family. But we’ve put someone who typically would never be the center of that kind of story at the center of the show.” That allowed for a “more nuanced take on her experiences.”

Bryant also discusses her work on “Saturday Night Live,” which earned her an Emmy bid last year as Best Comedy Supporting Actress; she had previously competed in the Best Music and Lyrics category for the series in 2014, but this was her first acting bid. Because so many of the sketches on “SNL” are based on breaking news events, the actress has become an expert at “not planning” for things. As she watches the news unfold throughout the week, whether it involves Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Meghan McCain, or someone she’s never heard of, she at times says to herself, with a bit of a chuckle, “I think I could do this lady.”

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