Everyone wants to go onto Netflix’s Nailed It! because they want to try their best to bake a ridiculously hard cake. I would be thrilled to fail miserably in front of host Nicole Byer. I want her to laugh in m face at my best efforts. That’s how much I love her and the show. Nailed It! has never tried to turn out good bakers, and Nicole Byer loves the unexpected chance for comedy.
For the fifth season, bakers were able to navigate the kitchen with a buddy or family member. In some instances, the results were doubly bad, but the competition felt even more joyous with more people in the kitchen. Byer and I talked about drag queen, if she would do a kids version of the show, and if she would ever be able to dethrone RuPaul in the Outstanding Host of a Reality Competition Series. She isn’t convinced, but I would not be surprised if her energy carried her to a win.
Awards Daily: You film this season of Nailed It! during the pandemic?
Nicole Byer: Oh yeah.
AD: Tell me how that was.
NB: It was like my third job since the pandemic started and it was stressful. I didn’t know if…I was going to get COVID for comedy and cupcakes and baking? They put in so many protocols that I felt so safe. If I didn’t feel safe or if I needed something, they would get it for me. They were so great.
AD: I don’t think we will get any, “the set was a nightmare!” stories any time soon.
NB: If you think about it, if someone catches it, they have to shut down. They lose days. They lose money.
AD: Would you rather bake against John Cena or do the Wipeout course against Jacques Torres?
NB: (laughs) I think I’d do the Wipeout course against Jacques because that’s comedy. Neither of us would finish it. It would be so fun. In my mind, that’s what I want.
AD: Has Nailed It! taught you anything about baking?
NB: Baking is an exact science. You can’t will-nilly put more baking soda in it. Just do the recipe. That’s all I’ve learned. Follow the directions, you will be set free and it will be beautiful.
AD: I think I learned that I should just go on Uber Eats or GrubHub. I assume people still come up to you and ask you what they should do to be on the show?
NB: Not really, actually. Since the world has opened up, I’ve just been going to a lot of drag shows. I have an email address that’s public email and kids tell me all the time that there should be a kids version of it. And I don’t think I could host that. When a kid does something wild, that’s the best they can do. Where’s the comedy in that?
AD: You could just make all the kids cry like Jane Krakowski did on 30 Rock.
NB: No! (laughs)
AD: Since you brought up drag queens, I gotta ask who you were rooting for this last season?
NB: On Drag Race? Probably Symone.
AD: A very deserving winner.
NB: Yes. I did once ask them all what their real names were and I thought, ‘That doesn’t match what I know now.’ We’re in too deep now. It’s weird. I don’t know what Madonna’s real name is so I wonder if her family is like, “Hi, Stacey!’
AD: Maybe she tells her family not to look her in the eye too?
NB: Maybe? Who knows.
AD: I liked how this new season introduced pairs of friends. Just watching it, how much did the dynamic change? And who would you want to be your partner if you baked?
NB: I enjoyed it because there were more people in the kitchen and I thought things would be better. And then they came back and said, “No it will not be!” It was fun to watch everyone. I would say that my best friend Sasheer [Zamata], my best friend, but then no. She would be bad. My old roommate, John, would just do it, and I wouldn’t have to do it.
AD: What happens if you end RuPaul’s reign of winning host at the Emmys?
AD: She’s the queen of the category. How would you deal with that?
NB: I wouldn’t have to deal with that because it would never happen. RuPaul will always win as long as RuPaul hosts that show.
AD: I keep seeing that gif of you when you cock your head to the side and you look puzzled. I can’t remember who was coming down the runway.
NB: It was LaLa Ri in the most iconic look on the runway that I’ve ever seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I was talking to her and I asked her, “Well, why didn’t you do anything?” and she said she ran out of time. It was honestly iconic. She should come out in a bedazzled bag costume. She can monetize that!
AD: Do you have a favorite guest judge from this season? I love Ron Funches so I was happy to see him.
NB: I love Ron and he’s always down to clown for anything. ASAP Ferg was so great. Jacques wanted his hair spray painted and I told Wes to go get hair spray.
AD: You are coming back to standup. What are you excited to talk about?
NB: It feels like unchartered territory. How long do I talk about COVID? People tell me comedy is about escapism and I am going to talk about it. It took a year out of my life, so you’re getting it. I’m excited to get back into it and figure out what I want to change. It’s almost like I’ve never done it before.