‘Barry’: Why Bill Hader Has a ‘Full on Mental Breakdown’ Following Every Episode of the Series

In I.T. Chapter 2, Bill Hader plays a character whose greatest fear is clowns. Yet in real life, the actor’s worst fear is much more grounded in reality. In an interview with The New York Times, Hader talked about how challenging it was to bring Barry to life, and how much trepidation went into play when creating his very own T.V. show

In fact, part of the filming process became so anxiety-provoking for Hader that he admitted to having a “full-on mental breakdown” following every episode. Keep reading to find out why. 

Bill Hader and Henry Winkler pose with their Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series awards for 'Barry'
Bill Hader and Henry Winkler pose with their Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series awards for ‘Barry’ | Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

Bill Hader was incredibly anxious about how ‘Barry’ would turn out

Hader is known for his hilarious performances on Saturday Night Live. Yet because he is so used to performing with an ensemble, the idea of working on a project alone was terrifying for the comedian. In an interview with The New York Times, Hader explained how worried he was about creating his own show. 

Bill Hader accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award for 'Barry' onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards
Bill Hader accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award for ‘Barry’ onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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He said, “I was terrified. I’ve never had my own thing that wasn’t associated with other friends from S.N.L., and I was on the poster and the lead character. If it didn’t work, it’s all me.”

Yet despite the success of his HBO series, Hader still can’t find it in him to relax. According to the actor, they still have their next season to worry about, and that it’s a never-ending cycle of fear.

Speaking of his worries, he said, “It never ends. That’s the thing. In two weeks, we start writing Season 3, and I go into an office with Liz Sarnoff [a producer of Barry]. I just stare at a whiteboard, going, “Why did we end Season 2 like that? That was so dumb.”

Working on ‘Barry’ caused Bill Hader to have a mental breakdown

BARRY
BARRY | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Many actors in Hollywood refuse to watch the T.V. shows and movies that they star in. According to Insider, some of these actors include Adam Driver, Tom Hanks, and Reese Witherspoon.

The S.N.L. alumn is also someone who has a challenging time watching himself on-screen. 

Hader’s fear of watching himself act is so bad that he admits to having a mental breakdown every time he witnesses one of his on-screen performances.

“I have a full-on mental breakdown every time we watch the first cut of everything,” Hader told The New York Times. “It’s like flooding, which is a technique, like, if you’re afraid of spiders, they put you in a room full of spiders.”

Bill Hader had many panic attacks while working on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Bill Hader as Stefon, and Colin Jost during "Weekend Update"
Bill Hader as Stefon, and Colin Jost during “Weekend Update” | Will Heath/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Hader is, without question, hilarious. But despite how funny and lovable he is, the actor felt as though he didn’t belong on Saturday Night Live. With the likes of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, Hader felt as though he wasn’t qualified and didn’t belong. He told ABC News

“When I started at ‘S.N.L.,’ being at a bar with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers, and all these people that I watched and admire… God, I just didn’t want to get fired.”

He later added,

“I love the people there, but doing that show was really hard for me. It was this funny thing of being trapped by this thing that was hurting you. I had to go to a therapist and do meditation — all these things to try to calm my nerves… It was becoming really detrimental for my performing.”