Bill Hader Is Open to Playing Stefon Again, One Year After Saying He Might Retire the Character Due to Being ‘Seen as a Stereotype’
Bill Hader is coming around to the idea of playing Stefon again. In a new interview with The Independent, the “Barry” creator said he “probably would” play the beloved “Saturday Night Live” character again despite telling The Guardian a year ago he’d probably be retiring the character because of stereotypes. Stefon is a flamboyant gay man who regularly appeared on “Weekend Update” to give depraved and deranged recommendations to tourists about things to do in New York City.
“I’ve never had any gay man come up to me and be offended that I [played Stefon],” Hader told The Independent. “I’ve always had people come up and say how much they love those roles. Honestly, I don’t know why I said [I wouldn’t play him anymore]. I probably would play him. I think just being asked the question at that point in time kind of made me anxious.”
More from Variety
Bill Hader Reveals 'Barry' Season 4 Is 'Totally Different' From What He Originally Envisioned
Bill Hader Breaks Down 'Barry' Season 4 Premiere: 'He Doesn't Understand What He Did Wrong'
In Its Final Season, 'Barry' Bares Its Protagonist's True Supervillain Self: TV Review
Hader was asked by The Guardian in April 2022 about taking on gay roles such as Stefon and his character in the indie film “The Skeleton Twins.”
“Oh, um, right. Well, Craig Johnson [the director of ‘The Skeleton Twins’] is gay, and he asked me if I’d be interested in doing that movie, and maybe that wouldn’t happen now,” Hader said at the time. “And that’s OK. But I really did love playing those characters, and I hope that when people saw them, they saw them as human beings.”
Hader revealed to The Guardian that “SNL” had recently “floated” the idea of Stefon returning to television, but the actor didn’t feel it would be right.
“I was like, ‘I don’t think that’s really a good thing to do now,’” Hader said at the time. “I mean, we had an openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic president, and half the country voted for him – twice! So [those attitudes] are really prevalent. That was a big eye-opener for me and it made me back up a bit and say, ‘Wait, maybe people see this character a different way.’ Because I really love Stefon and it never occurred to me that he would be seen as a stereotype, and that really hurt.”
Hader now told The Independent that he isn’t sure why he made that claim and it came out of anxiety. He is open to returning as Stefon, but maybe not as open to playing Vinny Vedecci, the exaggerated Italian talk show host.
“An Italian woman told me she was offended by it, and I was like, ‘All I’m trying to do is the old comic staple, you know, gibberish and everything,’” Hader said. “And she was like, ‘Right, but my father spoke like that and he actually spoke Italian.’ Your sensibility changes when you get older. I don’t think I would do that again.”
“I sympathize with and understand the sensitivity,” Hader added. “But as someone who creates things, I think you want to be able to create things in a genuine way and in an honest way. And what’s happened, especially on social media, is that there are people who aren’t funny, or content that is just offensive. I think the lines have been blurred.”
Hader currently stars in the fourth and final season of “Barry,” which airs Sunday nights on HBO.
Best of Variety
Tony Predictions: Best Musical -- Four Stand Poised to Give ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ Some Competition
This 'Fast and Furious' Arcade Cabinet Allows You to Step Behind the Wheel as Dom Toretto
From 'The Shards' to 'Daisy Jones & The Six': Books Made Into Movies and TV Series That You Should Read
Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.