Give in to the Charm of Award-Winner Ayo Edebiri

Happy Black History Month! Today, FF2 is thrilled to spotlight talented, hysterical Ayo Edebiri. Working as an actress, comedian, and writer for the last decade, Ayo was finally catapulted into the spotlight with her breakthrough role on the hit series, The Bear.

Born in Boston on October 3, 1995, Ayo’s comedic talents bloomed young with her participation in her high school’s improv troupe. Though starting a degree in education at NYU, Ayo quickly began studying playwriting instead. This passion for performance continued outside the classroom, with Ayo beginning her comedy career while still in undergrad.

Immediately upon finishing college, Ayo even performed stand up for Comedy Central’s Up Next, sharing a side splitting, if horrifying, roommate story. The very next year, Comedy Central also began to air Ayo and Rachel Are Single, a series she co-created with friend and frequent collaborator Rachel Sennott. During this time, Ayo also created the podcast Iconography alongside Olivia Craighead. The show, which takes listeners through various cultural icons, is propelled forward by the sharp wit of each host’s remarks.

Ayo has worked as a television writer across channels and genres, including on The Rundown with Robin Thede, Sunnyside, Mulligan, What We Do in the Shadows, and Big Mouth. Also on Big Mouth, Ayo replaced actress Jenny Slate as the voice of Missy in 2020. Jenny had stepped away from the role so that Missy, a young Black character, could be voiced by a Black actress. Though Missy’s voice changed, Ayo managed to maintain the character’s same quirky, endearing nature while also bringing her own comedic charm to Missy. 

Though usually praised for her talent in comedy, it is the gravity with which Ayo handles the role which allows Sydney Adamu to shine.

While working as a writer and actress on Dickinson, an Apple show which follows the life of the acclaimed American poet, Ayo met Christopher Storer, soon-to-be creator of The Bear. On The Bear, Ayo portrays Sydney Adamu, a young but driven chef and all-around fan favorite. Though usually praised for her talent in comedy, it is the gravity with which Ayo handles the role which allows Sydney to shine. In the fast-paced kitchen environment the audience finds themselves in while viewing The Bear, the smallest mistake becomes catastrophe—this Ayo portrays with her breath, her brow, the way she holds her shoulders. Some scenes find her forging a masterclass in acting with no dialogue at all

For her work on The Bear, Ayo has won an Independent Spirit Award, a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Emmy. In her Emmy acceptance speech, Ayo thanked her parents, saying, “I love you guys so much. Thank you so much for loving me, and letting me feel beautiful, and Black, and proud of all of that […] Probably not a dream to emigrate to this country and have your child be like, ‘I wanna do improv,’ but you’re real ones.” Ayo’s Emmy win was especially impactful, as FF2 contributor Julia Lasker reported in her awards’ coverage, as she is the third Black woman to win this award in its history. Though always talented and exceedingly capable, with The Bear, Ayo finally received the recognition she so rightfully deserved.

Carrying on from Big Mouth, Ayo has continued to work as a voice actress. She has appeared in such television series as Mulligan, We Lost Our Human, Kiff, and Clone High. Ayo has also recorded voice parts for film, specifically the superhero genre, which includes Spider-Man: Across the Spider Verse and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

In 2023, Ayo acted in the hilarious mockumentary, Theater Camp. The film follows an unpredictable summer at a theater camp in upstate New York. The project derives humor from nostalgia and sentimentality, with embarrassing sequences which were perhaps relatable to all too many of us ex-theater kids. In the film, Ayo portrays Janet, who has fallen into the role of theater teacher with absolutely zero qualifications or background knowledge of the subject. The role allows for many of the laughable hijinks which Ayo performs so well on screen.

Most recently, Ayo starred alongside friend Rachel Sennott in the comedy Bottoms, a teen sex flick directed by Emma Seligman which subverts its already zany genre with queer romance and brutal, if hilarious, violence. The title of FF2 contributor Hannah Lamb-Vines’ thoughtful review of the film, linked below, truly encapsulates it all: “‘Bottoms’ Lets Queer Girls Be Mean and It’s Awesome.” The film amazes in its combination of original raunchy humor and over-gorey fist fighting. During the final fight sequence, I cheered in the audience. Yes, kill those football players, ladies! (Sidenote: I had the pleasure of watching Bottoms at the Savoy Cinema on Dublin’s O’Connell Street—the perfect place to watch a show stopping performance from Ayo, Ireland’s own princess.)

With more projects currently in the works, it is not a question of if we will continue to be delighted by Ayo, but only when. We at FF2 can’t wait until we’re charmed by her once again. 

© Reese Alexander (2/16/24) – Special for FF2 Media


Read Hannah Lamb-Vines’ review of Bottoms here.

Visit Ayo’s Wikipedia page here.

Check out Ayo’s Instagram here.

Check out Julia Lasker’s Emmy coverage here.

And Julia’s Golden Globes coverage here.


Featured Photo: Ayo Edebiri wins the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy – for her role in THE BEAR.  (Beverly Hills, CA 1/7/24) Photo Credit: PMC/Alamy Live News. Image ID: 2WB1BXY

Middle Photo: Ayo attended the Golden Globe Awards in a strapless red dress from Prada. Stylist Danielle Goldberg dressed Ayo for the occasion. Follow this link to learn more.

Bottom Photo: Ayo Edebiri arrives at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards. (Santa Monica, CA 3/4/23) Photo Credit: © Charlie Steffens/ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2P57D5H

Tags: Ayo and Rachel Are Single, Ayo Edebiri, Big Mouth, Bottoms, Clone High, Dickinson, Emma Seligman, Iconography, Jenny Slate, Kiff, Mulligan, Olivia Craighead, Rachel Sennott, Spider-Man: Across the Spider Verse, Sunnyside, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, The Bear, The Rundown with Robin Thede, Theater Camp, Up Next, We Lost Our Human, What We Do in the Shadows

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Reese Alexander is currently a student at Barnard College, where she studies English literature, creative writing, and French. Reese enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been published in multiple campus publications, including Quarto, Echoes, The Barnard Bulletin, and The Columbia Federalist. Reese is most passionate about medieval literature, as she believes it illustrates the contributions of women artists throughout the centuries.
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