Nicole Byer’s Missed Opportunity With Viola Davis at Emmys
You never forget your first. For a lucky handful of TV personalities, that time is now. Get to know the names behind the nominations with Emmy First-Timers Club, E! News’ weeklong celebration of newcomers with nods in some of the biggest categories!
Nicole Byer is having a moment.
Not only did the host of Nailed It just land a new gig as one of the co-hosts of TBS’ upcoming Wipeout revival, she’s also just begun a five-night stretch as emcee of the 2020 Creative Arts Emmys—a job that kicked off on Monday, Sept. 14 and will continue through Saturday, Sept. 19.
Oh, and did we mention that she’s also made history as the first Black woman ever nominated for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program for her work on Nailed It? Like we said, a moment.
The timing of the momentous milestone in her career—both in terms of the category’s history and the year we’re currently suffering through—is something of a mixed bag, though, Byer told E! News in July.
“I was like, ‘I think I’m the first,’ and it feels cool. It feels really f–king cool, to be honest. Also it’s just like, God, I think 2008 is the first year they had the category, so it kinda sucks that it took 12 years,” she said, adding, “It kinda sucks, not just that it might be a virtual ceremony, but also there’s a lot of s–t going on in the world.”
Despite all that, there still remains at least one thing to look forward to. “If I win,” she reminded, “I get an Emmy!”
While we await the results of Byer’s category, which will be revealed during night five of the 2020 Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday, get to know the triple-threat (host/actor/stand-up comedian) a bit better with her hilarious responses to our Emmy First-Timers Club questionnaire!
Getty Images; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration
Whose performances inspired you to become an actor?
I really love Ghost, so Whoopi Goldberg truly has one of my favorite performances of all time. I think it’s just so thoughtful and funny—a true treat, really. My second favorite is Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. I loved her character, the blonde streak in her hair, the outfits, that she didn’t take s–t and knew about cars. I also loved Joe Pesci—OMG, he was so funny.
What was the last non-acting job you held?
I worked the front desk of the UCB Training Center in New York. RIP. I was also babysitting/nannying at the time.
What TV show other than your own have you never missed an episode of?
RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s a bright, fun, delightful show.
The TV show based on my life would be called…
Loosely Exactly Nicole, currently streaming on Facebook Watch. Didn’t know Facebook had content? Yeah, well, you’re truly not alone.
When was the first time, if ever, you remember seeing yourself represented on TV?
I’m lucky I had Saved by the Bell, Living Single, Moesha, Fresh Prince. All these shows had people who looked and sounded like me. Also, in the 2000s, all that went away—which bums me the f–k out.
What do you want to see more of on TV? Why?
Black people, people of color. Um, isn’t it obvious? Representation matters.
What was the first thought that passed through your mind when you learned you were nominated?
I was surprised.
How did you celebrate your nomination?
I had to work during the day, but at night we went to skate gang and roller-skated with the non-violent gang I started. But once we get good, watch out.
Where will you put your Emmy if you win?
In the bathroom, probably.
To see Byer in action as host of the 2020 Creative Arts Emmys, tune in starting Tuesday, Sept. 15 at Emmys.com. And to see if her commode is due for some redecoration, don’t miss night five of when it makes the leap to FXX on Saturday, Sept. 19.
And to hear from more members of the Emmy First-Timers Club, check back with E! News every day through Emmy Sunday on Sept. 20!
Watch our Live From E!: Emmys coverage starting Sunday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT followed by the 2020 Emmy Awards telecast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC!