Kristen Wiig Receives Inaugural Mary Tyler Moore Visionary Award at the Variety TV FYC Fest

Kristen Wiig Receives Inaugural Mary Tyler Moore Visionary Award at the Variety TV FYC Fest

At this year’s Variety TV FYC Fest, Variety teamed up with the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative to present the inaugural Mary Tyler Moore Visionary Award to writer, actor and producer Kristen Wiig. Kristen was recognized for her extensive and groundbreaking achievements in storytelling, matching Moore’s continuing extraordinary impact on the entertainment industry.

“Kristen is indeed a true Mary. A multi-hyphenate, critically acclaimed creator of moments of joy and occasions of reflection that move and make us better,” said Dr. S. Robert Levine, founder and CEO of the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative. “Kristen also shares a creative driver with Mary, what Kristen has called ‘the need to be a little uncomfortable.’ Or as Mary once put it, ‘Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.'”

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“I’m a little speechless,” Wiig said upon receiving the award. “I grew up watching Mary, and she was such an unbelievable performer in person, and this business is weird. It can be hard to navigate, especially as a woman, especially back then, and she just did it so full of grace. So this just means so much to me.”

Following the award presentation, Wiig sat down with Variety deputy awards and features editor Jenelle Riley for a Q&A about her career and her path to comedy stardom.

Wiig described herself as a “sitcom kid” with a deep appreciation for classic comedy duos like Abbot and Costello and Martin and Lewis from a young age. Growing up, she often put on plays in her shower and used the curtains for dramatic openings to her shows.

“Sometimes it was just for me, but there was a mirror in there,” Wiig said. “I mean, I always loved performers and I loved movies and comedy especially, but the actual decision to do [comedy] came much later in my life because I didn’t think that was something anyone from my town would do.”

Many years after practicing in the shower, Wiig would land her first professional acting job in a Dunkin Donuts commercial where she, coincidentally, played a bridesmaid.

“I was in the back of a limo and we were drinking something. I don’t remember the product, but that was my very first thing,” Wiig said. “I don’t even know if I said anything. I think I said like, ‘Whoa we’re in a car.'”

In the years to follow, Wiig joined SNL, wrote and starred in the Oscar-nominated film “Bridesmaids” and most recently, led the all-star cast of “Palm Royale” on Apple TV+. But even with all her success, Wiig says she still hasn’t had her “I made it” moment.

“This job is so out of your comfort zone at every level that the moment I feel totally comfortable with everything, I’m done,” Wiig explained. “I guess what I’m saying is I think there is an element of just reminding myself I’m grateful to be here and that it can go away so fast.”

Watch the award presentation and Q&A in its entirety above.

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