After delivering the 12th Oakie Masters of Comedy Lecture virtually at USC School of Cinematic Arts, Bill Hader was honored with the Master of Comedy award, presented by the Jack Oakie & Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation.
The honor, which has previously been shared by Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Steve Carell and more, is awarded to those with “exceptional achievement in film and television comedy.”
The Masters of Comedy lecture featured Hader in conversation with comedian and USC professor Wayne Federman. To a virtual audience of USC students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public, Hader discussed growing up in Tulsa, Okla., coping with performance anxiety and joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live.”
“The idea of being on ‘SNL’ never even occurred to me until it happened,” Hader said. “It would be like saying, ‘I’m gonna colonize Mars.’”
Though Hader is undoubtedly a seasoned comedian, he detailed that performance anxiety is something he has had to overcome in his career.
“It got worse as I got older — catastrophic thinking and things like that,” Hader said. “It was just the anticipation of a task and the pressure.”
In order to curb the anxiety, Hader said therapy and meditation have helped a great deal.
“[I found] little ways of dealing with it, like going into therapy and meditating, which I do twice a day,” Hader said. “And I do it because it’s like brushing my teeth. This is what you do to calm your brain down.”
The writer, actor and director described working behind the camera in HBO’s “Barry” and the difficulties of directing himself. Hader also discussed the series’ upcoming third season and how its tone will shift after the dark finale of Season 2.
“So much of it is following wherever the emotion takes you and being true and honest to the characters,” Hader said. “In doing that, you get funny stuff and you get really tragic stuff.”
Hader was honored with a $10,000 scholarship fittingly titled the “C’mon, Stop… You’re Kidding Me… A USC Scholarship Named After Me?” Federman also became the namesake of the “They Named Two of These After Me… How Many You Got?” award. Both scholarships will benefit USC Comedy students next year.
Season 3 of “Barry” is currently in production, and while the show has not yet been officially renewed beyond that, Hader said recently on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” that they have already written Season 4.