Nicole Byer returned for another season of “Nailed It!” this year, but things were a little different this time around. Not only were they filming during the pandemic but the producers decided to switch things up with a “Double Trouble” twist, with pairs of bakers competing instead of individual contestants. The concept would naturally suggest that the cakes would be better looking and tasting, but that did not end up being the result. “You would think, ‘More hands in the kitchen, two brains instead of one, this will be delightful, this will be delicious,'” says Byer in an exclusive new webchat for Gold Derby. “I gotta say, that was not the case.” Watch the full video interview above.
Byer notes that the producers made safety accommodations for the talent, the contestants and the crew, moving to a bigger stage with camera operators working remotely in addition to spacing out the judges and adding distance from the contestants. While the pandemic weighed down on the world, Byer’s job was to create a joyous atmosphere on-set, which she relates to her job as a comedian. “It’s kind of like a sketch where you have a game and that’s the thing you’re playing,” explains Byer. “The game of every day was, ‘How far away from people can I stay but still be funny?'” Part of that funny was also from having “too many cooks in the kitchen,” which she observes was good for the show.
Over the past few years, Byer has used her particular set of skills in many endeavors, not only hosting “Nailed It” but guest judging on shows like “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” podcasting about movies, becoming a commentator of “Wipeout” and more. Byer believes that a good host means “having a point of view” and being engaged with what you are commenting on. While it may be important to like the subject matter, even if you don’t, the host stresses the importance of having an opinion about it. “Also, bringing yourself into it,” she adds. They hired you for a reason. Why would you try to serve them something other than you?”
Byer hosted the Creative Arts Emmys last year, which took place virtually and over the course of five nights. “It was a little hard,” she admits, especially with no audience able to respond to her jokes. “Usually when you’re hosting you have an audience and people give you feedback instantaneously.” She also earned her first Emmy nomination that year for Best Reality Host, which she describes as a “wild” experience. “I went into my roommate’s room and I was like, ‘Would you like to watch ‘Lord of the Rings’ with an Emmy nominee?!'” recalls Byer. “He was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And I was like, ‘I was nominated for an Emmy,’ and then it was just a fun day to say that over and over again.”
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