“Nailed It” host Nicole Byer remembers her initial reaction to being nominated for an Emmy last year. “Honestly, when people say it’s just an honor to be nominated, you’re like, ‘That’s bullshit. You wanted to win.’ I was up against RuPaul. And like the people of ‘Shark Tank.’ I was not going to win,” she says. “And that’s okay with me. So, it was an honor to be nominated.”
This year, Byer is once again nominated in the host for a reality or competition program category, for “Nailed It.” And as an executive producer of the Netflix series, she’s also part of the team nominated for the show as outstanding competition program.
“It made me feel like yes, like I elevated hosting, like, I brought something very different to hosting and it was recognized,” she told Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast, in an interview conducted prior to this year’s Emmy nominations announcement. Listen below:
“I was like, hopefully, when someone’s casting, looking for a host, they’ll be like, ‘what about this Brown woman or this Black woman or this Asian person? Let’s let’s bring something that people haven’t seen,’” Byer says. “I’m hoping I opened the door a little bit wider for others to be able to do what I get to do.”
Byer has become an in-demand host in recent years. Besides five seasons of “Nailed It,” she recently hosted TBS’ “Wipeout” revival with John Cena. And last September, she was tapped to host all five nights of the TV Academy’s virtual Creative Arts Emmys.
“I didn’t know how to host at all when they asked me to do ‘Nailed It,’” Byer says. “And they’re like, ‘yeah, that’s fine. Don’t worry about it.’ The first two seasons of ‘Nailed It,’ I think they really played on the fact that I didn’t really know what was happening. But I never thought this would be like a huge part of my life.”
Byer continues to also expand her acting, voiceover work, podcasting and standup gigs as well. As a result, she has developed multiple fanbases — including kids who recognize her from “Nailed It” and don’t know, for example, her more blue comedy routines.
“I mean, I’m not a huge fan of children,” she quips. “I do like some, one of my dear friends has a child that I love. A couple of them do. But I think about it in a way where children are very honest, they’ll truly tell you exactly what’s on their mind, no filter, and a lot of them think I’m funny. So whenever an adult is like, ‘you’re not funny, and I don’t like you,’ I’m like, I think you’re lying. The children say otherwise. And they’re very honest. It’s very fun that I get to show off different things like being family friendly on ‘Nailed It.’ And then you can do a stand up show. And you get to see that I’m a full three dimensional person who doesn’t just do one thing.”
Part of the appeal of “Nailed It,” besides Byer’s comedic personality and those terrible amateur bakers’ creations, is the give-and-take between the host and celebrity chef Jacques Torres, who serves as the show’s head judge.
“[Torres] is one of the kindest, sweetest people I have ever met in my life,” Byer says. “He loves learning. He loves sharing his knowledge.”
Byer said she didn’t know much about Torres when the show began: “When I got there, and I was talking to him, I was like, ‘oh, wow, this man seems so knowledgeable, and he’s so refined.’ And I’m like, telling dick jokes. I later went looked and was like, Oh my God. He’s world renowned. And he’s very talented. He’s done so much. And he’s had an illustrious career. It wasn’t like I treated him any differently after I had known that.”
Byer says she has taught Torres how to tell a joke, including the setup, punchline and the joke’s button: “He loves a button. He loves saying something and then buttoning it and it makes me laugh so hard. I cannot say enough about the man. He is really, truly just a professional, incredible, and a joy to work with.”
Meanwhile, hosting “Nailed It” has come with another fringe benefit: The exposure has opened her up to more acting jobs. “I’ll get called into things that maybe I wouldn’t necessarily be called in for, because the casting director’s child loves me,” she says. “And I’ve gotten jobs because kids like me, and then their adult parents have the power to put me in things. So that’s been pretty fucking cool. It’s given me a little bit more exposure, which I’m very grateful for it.”
Also on this episode, a mega edition of the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast Roundtable. We dissect the nominations for the 73rd annual Primetime Emmy awards, and share our hot takes on pleasant surprises, snubs, disappointments, shockers and more.
Variety’s Emmy edition of the “Awards Circuit” podcast is hosted by Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in television. Each week during Emmy season, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.