This Weekend, Comedian Aidy Bryant Will Host the Independent Spirit Awards. Here's How She's Preparing

Photography by Alexa Viscius. Image courtesy of Aidy Bryant.

It may come as a surprise that Aidy Bryant views her upcoming gig as a rare challenge. Though the Saturday Night Live alum has a wealth of performances—at various degrees of preparedness—under her belt, the prospect of hosting the 39th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, which takes place Feb. 25, feels like a different beast.

“I don’t come from stand-up,” she says. “I come from a sketch, improv, and writing background. I get to come at this like, I don’t know how to do what they do. I can only do what I do.”

Aidy Bryant in Shrill. Image courtesy of Hulu.

Bryant’s accomplishments—like her four Emmy nominations, including one for her role in the Hulu comedy Shrill—would inflate most egos. Instead, her deliberately informal and frank approach to her craft makes her a perfect candidate to host the most free-spirited awards show of the season. After all, Bryant has prepared for worse: “This is going to be a room of quiet, smiling people. I used to perform in venues where the audience was actively hostile—drunk and mad.”

Known for its laidback tenor and enduring sense of humor (for years, the ceremony has taken place in a tented Santa Monica parking lot mere days before the Oscars), the Independent Spirit Awards has lauded cult classics such as After Hours, Fargo, and Dirty Dancing, ushering in the careers of diamond-in-the-rough talents like Paul Dano and Aaron Eckhart in its Best Debut Performance category.

Jordan Peele at the 2018 Independent Spirit Awards. Image courtesy of Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images.

As host, Bryant adds her name to a cadre of certified Hollywood luminaries—her predecessors include John Waters, Samuel L. Jackson, and Aubrey Plaza. Nevertheless, Bryant insists that the focus remain on the evening’s nominees.

“Ultimately, it’s not about me. It’s actually about all these people who have worked hard to put these projects together—the people who actually made these films,” says Bryant. After a year marked by historic WGA and SAGAFTRA strikes, a ceremony that celebrates the industry’s upstart soul and seat-of-the-pants ethos feels all the sweeter. “It’s [about] the special little things that people made in a scrappy way,” Bryant concludes. “I like scrappiness.”