Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the genius behind the smash hits Killing Eve and Fleabag (as well as the criminally overlooked Crashing) and she’s finally starting to get the respect she deserves. Not only did she rack up the wins at this year’s Emmys, she also landed her first gig as host on SNL. Which of course brings with it the nerve-wracking monologue. “When I asked, ‘Do we have to do this bit?’ they said, ‘Yes, it’s part of your visa,'” she told the audience on Saturday.
For someone without a backdrop in stand-up comedy, Waller-Bridge owned the opening monologue, an SNL standard that can easily be the cringiest part of the night. She took the time to linger on why the Fleabag audience seems so obsessed with the “Hot Priest” character, but, ultimately, she chalked it up to taste. As she put it, “We all find weird things sexy. And women can now speak openly about their desires without getting burned at the stake, which is nice. Love that. Back in the day, horny women were to be feared. And now, they’re given Emmys.”
Waller-Bridge did end with a sort-of thesis that tied all her ideas together, and it’s the idea that we all have genitals all of the time, not just when they’re in use or need tending to: “For a world obsessed with sex, it’s incredible how little attention we pay our genitals. When we focus on them, or when they get sick or something, it’s all about them. But the rest of the time, they’re just sitting there. They’re just… sitting there. Patiently. Like… [looks around nervously]. I mean, think about how many of them are in this room, right now. Just think about all the genitals, all across America, sat on couches right now.”
It’s sort of the inverse to the “picture your audience naked” advice for dealing with stage fright. In this case, it’s “force your audience to think about the gentials of the person sitting next to them and then get off stage immediately.”