Ayo Edibiri is very busy this summer. She stars in the It show of the summer for two years running, The Bear; she voices April O’Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem—which has been VERY well received by critics and audiences, Seth Rogen solved it—she currently stars in Theater Camp alongside Ben Platt, Molly Gordon and Noah Galvin; and in a couple weeks, Bottoms hits theaters, capping off her summer run (on top of all this, she also has small parts in Black Mirror’s “Joan Is Awful” episode, I Think You Should Leave, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse). In between The Bear and Bottoms, she has a cover feature in The Hollywood Reporter—the interview was conducted before the actors’ strike commenced—all about her somewhat unexpected and rapid rise to stardom.
If you’re unaware, Edibiri started out as a standup comedian, intended to be a writer, and ended up an actor. She does write, with credits on Sunnyside, Dickinson, and What We Do in the Shadows, among others, but Edibiri is one of the major breakout stars of the post-pandemic years. Her profile, written by Seija Rankin, is in large part about her relatively rapid success in show business, going from college to a multi-hyphenate Hollywood career in just a few short years—Edibiri is just twenty-seven and already one of the most in-demand actors of her cohort. Part of it is undoubtedly down to Edibiri’s self-effacing and somewhat awkward charm, which comes across in her standup.
In the profile, the pattern becomes clear of Edibiri bagging a gig, impressing the higher-ups, and getting that next opportunity, such as going from a staff writer to voicing a character on Big Mouth when Jenny Slate stepped down from voicing Missy, a bi-racial character, in 2020. Or meeting Christopher Storer, creator of The Bear, while working on Dickinson and making enough of an impression that he later thought of her to play Sydney on The Bear.
But there’s also a dash of hustle culture, the inescapable reality for younger people across so many industries, where so often, one job isn’t enough. Hustle in Hollywood is practically a pre-requisite, with the assumption you will work a cadre of odd jobs to make ends meet until you get your big break, but even when that break comes, there is still the hustle of booking the next job, and the next, and the next, as well as managing all sorts of side interests, such as spokesperson gigs or fronting your own brands or podcasting—the 2020s version of celebrities lifestyle blogging in the 2000s. The hustle never really stops, unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio, in which case, nothing interrupts your hot yacht summers.
Edibiri makes it look easy, even if we recognize that it’s not. It’s just that she broke out SO fast, going from nowhere to everywhere seemingly overnight, and unlike some other overnight sensations—like, say, Austin Butler who spent his teens and most of his twenties on crap teeny-bopper shows—she is still young enough that she actually does feel like a proper overnight sensation. A rapid rise doesn’t take away from the effort, but it is now part of the Hollywood legend of Ayo Edibiri, that she basically went directly from stand-up stages to starring on hit TV shows. Not quite, but close enough to make for a good story.
With the strike on, there’s no telling when the next phase of Edibiri’s career will engage. She’s supposed to star in Marvel’s Thunderbolts alongside Harrison Ford, Sebastian Stan, Steven Yeun, David Harbour, Wyatt Russell, and Florence Pugh. That production is part of the strike delays, but the next phase of Ayo Edibiri will align with the next phase of the MCU. In the meantime, though, we have Bottoms to look forward to, and the last month of the summer of Ayo.