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Video: Bill Hader talks 'Barry,' 'Saturday Night Live' and growing up in Tulsa on 'CBS Sunday Morning'

Bill Hader stars in "Barry." HBO photo
Bill Hader stars in "Barry." HBO photo

Tulsa native Bill Hader was showcased in the "Sunday Profile" of "CBS Sunday Morning" over the weekend, in honor of Sunday night's Season 2 premiere of his hit HBO series "Barry." 

Hader stars in and co-created the show is about a hit man who chases one of his targets to an Los Angeles acting class and ends up becoming a student under the tutelage of an acting coach played by Henry Winkler. 

"I knew it was something I liked, which was really important," Hader said of the show's concept. "It was something that I wanted to see."

One of the surprise hits of 2018, Hader and Winkler both won Emmy Awards last year for their work on "Barry." 

CBS correspondent Stacy Smith asked Hader in the interview, "Can you believe it?"

"No. I'm from Tulsa!" Hader said. "Like, if you said I was gonna be on television, it's like saying, 'Hey, you're gonna colonize Mars.' It doesn't compute!"

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hader dreamed of making movies and pay attention to much else including school. 

"My grades were so abysmal. I think everybody in my high school thought I was on drugs. But I wasn't. I was just not interested. I just was, like, a dreamy, kind of like spazzy kid," he said. 

After school, he moved to L.A. to chase his directing dream, and wound up in an improv class. "I took improv classes just to learn how to work with actors."

"It wasn't, 'Hey, I'm gonna go into comedy now, I'm gonna be a comedian'?"

"No. Never, ever was that a goal, ever."

But the turning point came one night after class when a teacher pulled him aside. "And he just went, 'You're really good at this.' And no one had said that to me ever. He's like, 'I got nothing to say. You're great.' and that comment and that compliment just, I was, like, riding on that for a couple weeks. I remember, just going, like, 'Oh, I'm good at something!'"

Smith asked, "What did that do to you mentally? I mean, how did that comment change things for you?"

"Well, it gave me confidence. I just didn't realize I had very, very little confidence in myself."

Luck was in his favor when Hader formed his own improv group with his pal Matt Offerman, brother of TV star Nick Offerman. Nick's wife, TV star and fellow Oklahoman Megan Mullally, talked Hader up to one of her friends, "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels.

Hader recalled: "I went and I met Lorne Michaels, and he went, 'Do you know why you're here?' And I was like, 'No.'"

For eight years, Hader was a fixture on "Saturday Night Live," but he said he didn't really enjoy his success on the show. 

"The live aspect of the show was really hard," he said. "I mean, I was a fricking basket case when I did that show. It was always hard for me. And it's still hard. I mean, I hosted last year, and I was a wreck beforehand. I just get very, very nervous. ... And Lorne Michaels came down and was like, 'Will you just please have some fun?'"

Hader is acting, writing and directing on "Barry," which means he's staying busy on the dark comedy. 

"It's all-consuming," he replied. "The amount of work and the amount of people and the amount of hours it gets in just to get something that people then come up to me and say, 'Oh, I watched that on a plane!'"

"Barry" airs at 9:30 p.m. Sundays on HBO.


Related Photos
Bill Hader stars in "Barry." HBO photo

Bill Hader stars in "Barry." HBO photo

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›