From Aykroyd, Murray, to Murphy, I thank Saturday Night Live for launching the many careers in comedy it did. The most recent member to be added among them is Bill Hader. Hader may not have the reputation, yet, to rival the legends, however, he has proven himself worthy.
Hader’s ladder to success was more by fate than a planned out path. In fact for a man who made it on Howard Stern’s top five comedians from SNL, it’s pretty shocking to hear he had no aspiration for a career in comedy.
Traveling from Tulsa to LA in his early twenties, Hader had hopes to be a filmmaker. His game plan was to come out here and just learn by doing. During that time, he was a production assistant on some films and TV shows. Hader was actually fired after his first day on K-PAX for letting a couple of actors from the Planet of the Apes set, dressed as apes, walk in a scene during filming.
From having to go find Arnold Schwarzenegger hair stylist to telling Playmates what outfits to put on, this was not the lifestyle Hader had in mind. In order to stay creative he decided to take improv classes at Second City. Second City is where he found this talent he never even knew he had that persuade him into joining a comedy troupe.
One night of Megan Mullally watching Hader perform led to a meeting with, his now manager, Naomi Odenkirk; which then turned into a recommendation to Lorne Michaels (SNL producer).
Hader described this experience as going from kindergarten to Harvard; that sudden transition could been why he felt a struggle to gain confidence at SNL until his fifth season. Unsure on what he could attribute to the show, Hader started messing around with impressions. Odenkirk told Hader to not do things that he thought were popular, but to do things he was actually attracted to. Being the movie geek he is, that advice led him to impersonating many classic actors he loved watching. In fact,before going into SNL he didn’t even know he could do impressions, to now being the master of them.
During his time co-starring in a couple films it was, again, fate that led him to meeting South Park writers Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Hader found his second home at South Park. A member of their writer’s retreats since 2008, his departure of SNL in 2013 steered him a spot as a full-time writer on South Park for their 17th season.
Hader is proof that true talent does not go unnoticed and that just trying something new can lead to many opportunities. Even today he continues to push his limits, from the iconic Stefon to suicidal twin. It’s kind of fun not knowing what other characters are hidden in that mind.