Why Bill Hader Had To Seek Therapy While Starring on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Is there anything that Bill Hader can’t do? Not only is he hilarious on Saturday Night Live, but the actor has also proved how versatile he can be on HBO’s Barry. Hader has received enormous success over the decade, including an Emmy win for “best actor” on his HBO series. But despite all the wins he has received during his time in the spotlight, Hader is still “terrified” about his career. 

And during his days on Saturday Night Live, he felt so out of place with the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler that he suffered major panic attacks backstage. His nerves got so bad that he had to see a therapist to ease his anxiety.

Bill Hader on 'Saturday Night Live'
Bill Hader on ‘Saturday Night Live’ | Dana Edelson/ Getty Images

Bill Hader was terrified about ‘Barry’ because it was his first big solo project

Following his days on S.N.L., Hader decided to prove his talent as a dramatic actor in HBO’s Barry. And despite his Emmy win for “best actor” in his series, he was extremely nervous about creating his show. He told The New York Times, “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.”

Henry Winkler, Bill Hader and Anthony Carrigan
Henry Winkler, Bill Hader and Anthony Carrigan | FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO

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

Even now, despite all the critical acclaim for his series, he still can’t seem to relax. Stressing that his fear of failure is a never-ending cycle, 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.'”

Bill Hader had to seek therapy because he was so afraid of being on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Bill Hader accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award for 'Barry'
Bill Hader accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award for ‘Barry’ | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

According to the actor, he had to seek therapy because he was so terrified of performing on Saturday Night Live. Hader felt as though he would be fired at any moment because he didn’t think he was good enough. He revealed to A.B.C. 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.”

Because of his fears, he would get panic attacks backstage before performing. The actor said it became very detrimental to his performances. It got so bad that he decided to get professional help. “I had to go to a therapist and do meditation — all these things to try to calm my nerves,” he revealed. 

Bill Hader made a viral video discussing his lifelong battle with anxiety

Hader has always been very open about his “bad anxiety.” And in a video that went viral, he talked about his journey with anxiety and how he learned to combat it in his thirties. 

Hader said, “There was always a little voice in my head, telling me: ‘Here are all the things that can go wrong.’ And as you get older, that sticks around. When I was in my mid-thirties, that’s when I actually tried to do something about it because it was affecting my job as a performer on live television.”

He later said, “What helped me was learning that it doesn’t go away. You manage it. And instead of pushing away your anxiety and trying to fight it, you just become friends with it. It helped to alleviate that fear.”