An appreciation for the genius of Aidy Bryant and her new short Darby Forever
I have a confession. I’m embarrassed to say that when Season 38 of Saturday Night Live premiered in 2012 I was not a fan of Aidy Bryant. I unfairly dismissed her as a background presence and resented the fact that she was taking up one of the open slots on the SNL team.
I fell in love with Aidy Bryant when I was in the hospital and couldn’t sleep. I tuned on SNL and was introduced to the “Girlfriends Talk Show,” a sketch of two high school best friends putting on an internet talk show. I immediately took back every negative thought I ever had about Aidy Bryant when her character, the insecure Morgan, uncertainly exclaims “and I’m the most Morgan I can be right now…” Her awkward characters like Morgan and daddy obsessed Melanie are perfect examples of why everyone should be obsessed with Aidy Bryant and why she deserves a much better comedic platform than the floundering state of SNL.
Until Darby Forever, Aidy Bryant hasn’t had the star vehicle to showcase her talent. Sure, she has a small reoccurring role on Girls this season, but in Darby Forever, Bryant has a career-defining role in Darby, a woman in her twenties working in a fabric store. The 20-minute short fits in well with the current indie landscape dominated by filmmakers and actors like Greta Gerwig, Kristen Wiig, and Lena Dunham. It follows Darby throughout the week as she fantasizes of a world where everyone finds her as funny and charming as she knows herself to be. In her daily life she bedazzles shoes and office supplies, but in her daydreams she lives in a world where all of her jokes work, she fronts a band, and she even mothers a daughter named Gardenia Rose who has never witnessed cruelty and ugliness.
Nothing really happens in the 20-minute short but that’s perfectly ok. I was thoroughly entertained watching Darby fail in the most endearing ways possible. She shoved a steaming Hot Pocket in her mouth because she was impatient. She embarrassed herself in front of customers. She wasted gallons of water on a weekly basis so that she can see the water delivery man she has a crush on. She even invented her own form of baseball that involves no running whatsoever. Darby’s failures speak to me on a spiritual level.
The $.99 rental is worth it just to watch Aidy Bryant finally be given a leading role but the story behind the production also makes the short more than worth the cost. Darby Forever was produced as the first film in Vimeo’s “Share the Screen” initiative, their push to support female filmmakers and entertainers. The short film initiative almost feels like an informal pilot season and I hope network executives start paying attention to Bryant. Darby Forever proves that Bryant can carry more than a five minute sketch and if this year’s crop of half-baked sitcoms (Dr. Ken and Angel From Hell) are an indicator, the networks are desperately in need of actual talent. They should be begging Aidy Bryant for a pilot idea.
Aidy Bryant’s comedy resonates so strongly with me because her characters are often rooted in this sense of self-confidence that no one else in their world seems to recognize. Darby knows she’s the funniest bitch in the fabric store but her manager doesn’t even trust her enough to run the register. So whether she’s inappropriately hitting on someone’s dad at a sleepover or bedazzling staplers I am here for Aidy Bryant and will be loudly proclaiming my support for her until she is the queen of every single one of American’s television set.