Bill Hader is ready to come back as Stefon.
The “Saturday Night Live” alum reflected on the legacy of his breakout character Stefon, a gay nightlife guru in New York City who appeared during the “Weekend Update” segments. Hader parted ways with “SNL” in 2013 after eight years on the live sketch series; he returned in 2018 and reprised the role of Stefon as well as “The Californians” skit. In 2022, Hader was approached to bring back Stefon, but the “Barry” co-creator and star voiced his concern over being a straight man playing a queer parody. Hader is now addressing the debate and clarifying his past comments.
“I’ve never had any gay man come up to me and be offended that I [played Stefon],” Hader told The Independent, citing he also played a queer character in Craig Johnson’s “The Skeleton Twins.” “I’ve always had people come up and say how much they love those roles.”
Hader previously told The Guardian that he was concerned Stefon would be “seen as a stereotype, and that really hurt.”
Now, Hader said, “Honestly, I don’t know why I said that. I probably would play him. I think just being asked the question at that point in time kind of made me anxious.”
Instead, Hader has another “SNL” character he won’t go back to: Vinny Vedecci, the unprofessional Italian talk show host.
“An Italian woman told me she was offended by it, and I was like, ‘All I’m trying to do is the old comic staple, you know, gibberish and everything,'” Hader recalled. “And she was like, ‘Right, but my father spoke like that and he actually spoke Italian.'”
He added, “Your sensibility changes when you get older. I don’t think I would do that again.”
As for the shifting comedy landscape in the modern era, Hader said, “I sympathize with and understand the sensitivity. But as someone who creates things, I think you want to be able to create things in a genuine way and in an honest way. And what’s happened, especially on social media, is that there are people who aren’t funny, or content that is just offensive. I think the lines have been blurred.”