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Aidy Bryant on ‘wishful’ rewrites of her life on ‘Shrill’ and ‘overblown’ Elon Musk ‘SNL’ saga

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After three seasons, Hulu's "Shrill" is going quiet. Eight final episodes of the comedy series starring Aidy Bryant are now streaming.

The "Saturday Night Live" cast member plays Annie Easton, a journalist trying to establish herself professionally and grow more confident in her skin, in the series inspired by Lindy West's 2016 memoir.  Bryant also is a writer for "Shrill," which USA TODAY's TV critic Kelly Lawler called "the single best and most realistic TV show ever to include a fat woman." 

Bryant says Hulu canceled the series after three seasons but says the final episodes provide "a nice note to leave it on." In her eyes, Annie has evolved from "someone who lets anyone do or say anything to her, without any consequence," to "advocating for herself and trying to get the things that she wants."

In addition to "Shrill," Bryant also shares her thoughts about ending her time at "SNL" and addresses the hoopla surrounding the selection of entrepreneur Elon Musk as host this weekend. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

'SNL' star Aidy Bryant says goodbye to her Hulu comedy series 'Shrill' after three seasons
Staff video, USA TODAY

Question: I've read that you incorporate your own experiences into "Shrill" storylines. Are there challenges Annie faces this season that you share?

Aidy Bryant: Definitely. The episode where Annie goes to the doctor, and they suggest kind of right away without really examining her that she should get gastric bypass, that happened to me and to Lindy and to a lot of people. There's a big episode where Annie confesses that she has a crush on someone, and it doesn't go exactly the way she wished. I identified with that, for sure. 

Q: When gastric bypass surgery was suggested, how did you react?

Bryant: In a lot of ways, I wish my reaction was more like Annie’s 'cause I think I felt like, "Oh you're the doctor, I'm the patient. I should just sit here and say, "Oh, sorry. OK, maybe. I don't know," full-knowing that that was not something that I was going to be doing. To Annie's credit, in that moment, she was able to say, "I'm not interested in that." There's definitely some wishful writing in some of this, of almost do-overs.

Photo of Aidy Bryant in
Aidy Bryant
There's definitely some wishful writing in some of this, of almost do-overs.

Q: Has Annie inspired you? Do you take anything away from the character?

Bryant: Definitely. I think trying on those attitudes is huge because it kind of gives you practice. It's almost like putting on training wheels and getting to live out those scenarios. When I think about her saying, "(Expletive) you" to people, that's not something I would typically do, but I feel a little more open to it now that I've tried it.

Q: What's next for you?

Bryant: I've definitely been multitasking for the past couple years, doing "SNL" and "Shrill" at the same time. It was a lot, and I'm kind of looking forward to just taking it one thing at a time now, for a little bit, one job at a time. So I'll finish (this season of) "SNL" and then I think I'm gonna spend the summer figuring out what's next for me. 

Photo of Aidy Bryant in SNL
Aidy Bryant
It was a lot, and I'm kind of looking forward to just taking it one thing at a time now, for a little bit, one job at a time.

Q: Have you thought about your final day at "SNL" or what the timing of that would be?

Bryant: I'm not dodging, I just genuinely don't know. I'm still trying to kind of figure out that answer for myself, and I think that's part of what I feel like I need this summer for, is a little bit of space to think about that. I love being there, and I love the people there very much.

Q: After Elon Musk was announced as a host for this weekend's "SNL," some media outlets interpreted an Instagram story that you shared about distribution of wealth in this country as frustration about him hosting. Are those linked or would you like to clear that up?

Bryant: I don't really think there's anything to clear up. I feel like this is a very overblown thing, and I don't pick the hosts. I don't really have much to say about it, honestly. It's my job, and I do my job. I look forward to it.

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