Ayo Edebiri has no problem staying humble
Ayo Edebiri suspects that I mistook her for someone else. His PR team “sent me examples of your stories with Kathryn Hahn and Jonathan MajorShe said, underlining their last names as if they were of a whole different caliber of celebrity. “I mean, if you want to talk to me, no worries. I don’t mind talking to people! But, like … please justify why? ”
Here’s why: few young actors have the versatility of Edebiri. It is a wonder which has not yet realized it. It is true that at 25, Edebiri is not a household name in the vein of Michael Che, Chelsea Peretti or John Mulaney. (On the one hand, she is not having burgers with Olivia Munn.) But she is a skillful master of an extremely peculiar brand of ironic, almost absurd humor that play well on twitter, and her endless gags landed her in the corrections section of BuzzFeed, a distinction in itself. She took a refreshing and creative approach to comedy, relying less on flashy specials and more on podcasts and TV, appearing as Hattie in Apple TV + Dickinson while becoming the new voice of Big mouth‘s Missy, after Jenny Slate left in 2020. She is an equally talented writer as she is an actress: a co-producer of the upcoming Netflix animated series directed by Tina Fey Mulligan, she is also expected to star in an FX pilot led by Shamelessby Jeremy Allen White, called Bear. This week you can find her in Zoe Lister-Jones’ pre-apocalyptic comedy-drama. How it ends. It’s no exaggeration to call her a booming star. And yes, believe it or not, she can exist in the same conversation as someone like Hahn.
But what is perhaps most intriguing about Edebiri right now, right now, is that she is do not yet a real celebrity – she can laugh at her own relative obscurity and turn it into material. One of his most infamous pieces is in his Twitter biography: She claims to be “Showrunner of The Kominksy [sic] Method– now streaming on Netflix, Vudu and the ITV app. ”
In case it’s not already obvious, Edebiri isn’t, in fact, directing the Michael Douglas comedy, in which two aging white men grapple with the hardships of aging. She just thought the idea of her, a young black actress, leading a show about two old white dudes was too good to pass up. It’s “like a little joke to me,” she explains. Yet it quickly became a joke at her audience, and she can’t help savoring those who stumble in her realm.
“I got in trouble for this the other day on the set of Bear, she said, smiling. “I was in a car with these other actors who were on the show and are a little older, I don’t think they’re on Twitter. One of them said, “I didn’t even realize you were the showrunner of The Kominsky method! I love this show, it’s so awesome, I’m so proud of you! ‘ And I was like, ‘I don’t know how to say … Like, did that joke go too far?’ “
But of course not, because the whole point of a common joke is to see how far it can go. Edebiri really enjoys testing these limits, drawing on the millennial tendency to hyperbole (“no pronouns // never refer to me”, one of the his most popular tweets).
Edebiri is also jealously good at taking the non-linear path, riding it like a roller coaster rather than forcing a change of track. Even during her undergraduate studies at New York University, she was aware of how “so much in this industry can seem so amorphous,” so she just started throwing darts at the wall: write, do of the stand-up, going to open microphones, acting and dubbing. She developed a love of animation after renting her first VHS from Sailor moon at Blockbuster (RIP). The animated world is now one of its main art forms, able to transform its hyperbole into new (and even funnier) territory. “It’s fun to have an idea that doesn’t make sense physically, but there is a bunch of talented people who understand the crazy things you say and can make sense of them and make them look nice and cool,” she says.
Even his own career has been an exercise in longevity. Raised in Boston by two immigrant parents, her mother from Barbados, her Nigerian father, she grew up watching a very specific genre of Christian stand-up. I ask her what drew her to a career that makes people laugh, and she deflects, “If I knew the real answer, I probably wouldn’t do a comedy. I would live on a farm raising chickens and making pottery. If I really knew the answer, I wouldn’t have social media; I read eight books a day.
Part of what kept Edebiri on this path was the realization that the world of comedy was about to change. She could see the change in her inspirations (and, in many cases, her real friends): Naomi Ekperigin, Maria Bamford, Jacqueline Novak, Petey DeAbreu, Patti Harrison and Mitra Jouhari, to name a few. The industry didn’t feel as misogynistic or as fierce as it once had been. “[Comedy] was a lot less insulating and ego-based than I thought, ”she says. “There is a lot more collaboration and community.
And social media meant she could reach anyone, instantly, with a message at the right time. I ask what’s the difference between a joke tweet and a joke she records for stand-up or TV. How does she know the best place to place good material?
“I don’t know if there is a real thought process,” she admits. “My brain tells me, ‘It’s just a thought I want to trigger’ and I know it’s supposed to be read and processed for 30 seconds.”
“Are you ever the type, ‘This is fine kill on Twitter ?’ “, I ask.
“Every time I think, ‘This is a banger,’ I get 50 likes. I have to move; I have to change my name.
I’m not telling him that 50 likes is good for some of us. It’s clear that Edebiri is still too self-effacing – or perhaps too much self-deprecating – to recognize that she is winning.
In the writers room for season 2 of Dickinson, Edebiri made such an impression that she was taken out from behind the camera and played as Hattie, one of the servants of the Dickinson family who Emily Dickinson asks to join a shoot. With a perfect impassive delivery – and his signature touch, a note of absurdity – Edebiri responds, “I don’t need to talk to dead Whites anymore.”
It Is need is more opportunities and more space to play. She has a vivid imagination and a desire to chase it to the extreme. Take his pitch for the next one Frasier restart, for example. She recently tweeted that she wanted to cancel the main character. I ask her if she would like to develop.
“Paramount, if you want to reach out, I’m at CAA,” Edebiri says aside, before throwing in: Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) has left Seattle, but upon his father’s death he returns to a city in flux and in the midst of gentrification. Realizing “there’s no more radio, basically,” he’s forced to make an appointment with Edebiri, a successful podcast host. He wants her to teach him how to podcast so he can win back his radio audience, but he hasn’t learned internet lingo and “says a bunch of things that are really insulting to millennials.” .
Edebiri adds: “And of course, I’m canceling it.”
Of course, Frasier’s cancellation is probably late. But then what?
“Well, when we’re done arguing, I help her make a podcast. I am his new producer.
In other words, in the end, it’s Edebiri who laughs. She follows the joke until it’s the one above.
To be fair, she is keenly aware that her prime is far away. A few days ago, she remembers telling a local driver that she was an actress; he asked what she had been into.
“Well, some things,” she said. “But I don’t think you’ve seen them. Because you told me the only things you watched were Marvel shows.
“Well, what to have have you been in it? Don’t be so doubtful.
” I do not doubt. I just work with the information given to me.
Try me, he dared. So she said to him: Dickinson, How it ends, Big mouth.
“I’m not watching any of this.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Alas, Edebiri laughs at his own embarrassment. This is perhaps his best gag, a newcomer with a still uncertain end point. Fame isn’t exactly synonymous with happiness anyway. “I don’t think I want, I don’t know, to ride a horse for the Givenchy perfume,” she said. “In fact, I would fall off my horse, I would be dragged, I would ride sideways.”
But hey, what if it made you laugh? Hue.
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