Hulu is adapting the memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, by Lindy West, into a comedic half-hour series starring Aidy Bryant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.The show is currently in development.
The Saturday Night Live cast member helped write the screenplay for the new program with West and Ali Rushfield. The show will come from SNL head Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and its executive producers include actress Elizabeth Banks.
Shrill is described by THR as a single-camera comedy about a heavyset woman looking to change her life, but not her shape.
Hulu’s other new comedies including Ramy, starring Ramy Youssef in a series tackling the intricacies of Arab, Muslim, and American identity.
For those who missed it because you have lives and weekend plans or something, this week’s Saturday Night Live had a lot going on. Martin Short was an unusually effective host, the Royal Baby sketch was goofy and fun and a whole lot of special guest stars showed up, including Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie Brownstein on “What’s Up With That,” Larry David and Alec Baldwin. Paul McCartney and the former members of Nirvana played together again, and Macca did three (three!) songs.
And, with the horrific school shooting in Newtown still painful and raw in our collective memory, too raw for any incensed commentary or even for words, the show paid a touching tribute to the victims by opening with a children’s choir tenderly singing “Silent Night.” It was one of the most moving openings the show has ever done, to the point where we’re really hoping that some opportunistic website doesn’t do a “10 Most Moving SNL Responses to Horrifying National Tragedies” slideshow. Nope nope nope.
But even with so much heaviness of heart and a stacked guest star bill, some of the show’s best moments still came from the regulars, and they came during Weekend Update. Vanessa Bayer reprised her role as Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy, explaining the miracle of Chanukah to viewers in the format of a d’var torah, the speech Jewish kids give on the day of their bar/bat mitzvah explaining what they learned and what their reading is about. You’re told to write jokes into it, but the sort of jokes a nervous, socially awkward 13-year-old in front of his grandparents would tell. It becomes—and Seth Meyers put this perfectly—“a low-level roast of your family.” And Bayer nails the moment, to the point where I had some serious flashbacks to the bar and bat mitzvah circuit.
The other Weekend Update interview was with newcomer Cecily Strong, who reprised her role as the “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party.” And the timing couldn’t have been better, nor could her commentary on the holiday season ("You asked for an iPad Mini? I asked for an end to genocide."). Between the holiday season, New Year’s Eve and recent current events that will unfortunely lead to some negative and ill-informed discourse during family and social gatherings, she once again served as a funny but somewhat painful reminder of what’s in store for us during the most wonderful time of the year. Strong had some other solid moments too, particularly as Fran Drescher in “You’re A Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown.” And if as a featured player, she already has at least one memorable recurring character that people like, she’s on the right track to becoming a headliner. Basically, SNL, more Cecily Strong, please and thank you. Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant too.
Over the weekend, we expressed our excitement over the arrival of Second City Chicago alumna Aidy Bryant to the Saturday Night Live cast, mostly because it’s an ensemble in desperate need of some diversity, of body type and other varieties, and because with the departures of quite a few veteran cast members at season’s end, the show will need some new, funny faces. Two of these proposed faces are Bryant and her fellow Second City comic Tim Robinson. SNL has pulled some of its best cast members from the hallowed halls of SC, and hopefully things will go just as well for Bryant and Robinson. For some indication of what they’d bring to the cast, here are a few of their selected works from around the ‘webz.
Missed Connections: Robinson shows off a couple of characters on the giving and receiving end of some very misguided Craigslist missed connections in a video for Second City TV, including an “adorable eccentric” who encounters a smitten woman at a bus stop.
Selfloathepin: Real talk from the Second City cast about a condition that afflicts 1 out of every 1 Americans. The constipated rage-faces Robinson makes in front of the mirror really tie the whole thing together.
Bloopers Bloopers!: Robinson gets a little meta on us as a foul-mouthed host of a show featuring the best bloopers from shows about bloopers. We were kind of waiting for him to start yelling, “WE’LL DO IT LIVE!”
“Entreprenerds”: For part of Tasty Trade’s “Entreprenerds,” series, Bryant joyfully makes those around her super uncomfortable as the owner of spontaneous massage enterprise “Short Squeeze.” “Ditch the cancer stick and get with the Short Squeeze chick!” she tells one horrified customer.
Hansel & Gretel: Second City has been putting together a series of videos introducing this year’s program at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Bryant plays Gretel, half of the German fairy tale brother-sister duo, as a hard-ass picking on her far more vulnerable brother while trying to hide her own demons.
Sharing With Aidy Bryant: It takes a certain kind of actor to wordlessly eat a pizza with another actor, Lady and the Tramp-style, unafraid of the sauce and cheese and cringe-worthiness that may come with it. Aidy Bryant’s ability to commit to physical comedy, even with a slight ick factor, recalls some of the best SNL actresses of recent years—Molly Shannon’s bathroom-stall-destroying pratfalls, Rachel Dratch’s delightful laugh-or-cringe delivery.
Saturday Night Live newest rumored cast member won’t be a typical look for studio 8H: sketch comedian Aidy Bryant, a veteran of Second City, is plus-size. Larger women have hosted, of course — Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids last season, Gabby Sidibe from Precious, Roseanne Barr back in the day — and plenty of pregnant women have been hosted or been on the cast. But Aidy Bryant appears to be the first time SNL has opened their club to a fat woman. (And please don’t scream at me on Twitter: I don’t mean "fat" in a criticizing or mean way.)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bryant holds a theater degree from Columbia College and is in the ensemble of Baby Wants Candy and also appeared in a comedy group at Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre. She’ll be joining the cast with Tim Robinson, another Second City alumnus who appeared on the CBS comedy Friend Me and the BBC show Nice Day For A Welsh Wedding. You can read more about the two and watch videos of their work over at The Comic’s Comic.
While former SNL cast member Casey Wilson was larger than other cast members, Aidy Bryant is definitely the most fuller-figured woman in recent memory. And it’s also worth noting with this new casting news that as cool as it is that there’s a plus-size woman joining the cast, women of color still are not well-represented on the show. Save Nasim Pedrad, who was the first Iranian-American on the cast, and Maya Rudolph, who is half-black, its been a decade-plus since there has been a black woman cast member. (I had to Google pictures of Danitra Vance, Ellen Cleghorne, and Yvonne Hudson to see what they even look like.) Ever since Rudolph left the cast, the role of black women on SNL has been played by Kenan Thompson in lipstick and a skirt. You would think that in 2012, SNL could do better than that.
So it’s a relief now that the role of a plus-sized woman could now be played by an actual plus-sized woman — and not just, like, Kate McKinnon in a fat suit.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.