My Media Diet: The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri

From binge-watching British murder mysteries to sending Jeremy Allen White memes to the show’s group chat, here’s how the hit series’ breakout star spends her time on the internet.

Ayo Edebiri has never found herself particularly funny. Not as a Year 9 student doing improv for the first time in her home city of Boston, nor as one of the breakout stars of runaway hit series The Bear, where the 26-year-old plays Sydney, an ambitious young chef determined to help pull a failing Chicago sandwich shop from the brink of collapse. And yet, she’s one of New York’s most promising comedic talents.

I had a teacher in school who was really supportive,” Edebiri says, Zooming in from NYC, where she’s currently living. She basically said that you don’t have to be the class clown or the one who’s the loudest to be the funniest. You can be the person who listens, because there are other ways to be funny.”

And so over the past couple of years, the actor, writer and comedian has made this quiet, effective kind of humour her trademark. In The Bear, Edebiri brings a serious streak to Sydney, a lived-in character whose personal turmoil bubbles beneath the surface. But she’s also an over-explainer” whose tendency to rant enthusiastically about the merits of, say, risotto to chef Carmy (Jeremy Allen White, the show’s other breakout), brings levity to the role.

After graduating from New York University, her career took off: Edebiri joined the writer’s room for cartoon sitcom Big Mouth, before replacing Jenny Slate as the voice of cult character Missy in 2020.

Then, she got in front of the camera alongside her friend Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby), in Ayo and Rachel Are Single, a Comedy Central mini-series that explores the short-lived highs and catastrophic lows of modern dating. Dripping in dryness and irony, the pair co-wrote and co-starred in the series together, tearing apart every so-called romantic trope in the book. They’ll soon reunite in Bottoms, an upcoming high school sex comedy co-written by Sennott and directed by Shiva Babys Emma Seligman.

Edebiri also wrote and starred in Apple TV+ series Dickinson before landing the role of Sydney in The Bear – her first proper dramatic turn – for which she practised by doing a crash course at the Institute of Culinary Education. I really loved the writing [for The Bear],” Edebiri says. As somebody who also writes, I know how hard it is to make something feel so alive. I wanted to be a part of it in any way that I could.”

When she’s not busy getting booked for jobs, cracking us up and, eventually, getting some well-earned rest, here’s what Edebiri gets up to…

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The last article I found myself thinking about was…

The Tyranny of Time in Noema magazine. Kaia Gerber and I were going back and forth between articles we think about a lot, and she sent me this one. Especially during the pandemic, time felt so insane and false. This piece goes into the history of time and how it relates to crisis.

The last new artist I discovered on Spotify was…

I’m really bad at listening to new music. I also don’t really listen to artists – more often I’ll find random songs and make playlists. The last one I made is called Hotel Room Psychosis, which has songs by Ethel Cain, Üdü Ẁüdü by a glam rock band called Magma, You’re Still The One by Andrès. There’s another playlist called Having a Mental Breakdown, and one I made in Chicago called Dusty Dusty Chicago from when we were filming. I also like this Korean band called Mid-Air Thief. I don’t understand Korean, but I really love how it sounds.

The last podcast I spent hours listening to was…

My two favourite podcasts right now are The Rest Is History and The Rest Is Politics. In the first one, these two British historians, Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook, talk about a really wide range of topics. I love it because it doesn’t feel like, I Googled this thing!” – these are people who have dedicated their lives to certain subjects. They’re very straightforward and funny. It makes me feel like when I was in school and still enjoyed learning.

The last picture I liked on Instagram was…

The picture that Jeremy posted saying there was a season two renewal for The Bear.

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The last TikTok I sent to a friend was…

Probably a video I sent to Lionel Boyce, who plays Marcus in the show, of this woman singing and dancing. Wow. I’m watching it right now and laughing.

The last series I binged (or watched a lot of) was…

This is really sad, but it’s true… Inspector Morse. My brain is honestly broken. I watched so many detective series and was running out of new ones, so I started going backwards. I’ve seen Miss Marple, Inspector Lewis and Endeavour – the spin-off and the sequel. So I thought I might as well watch the original. It’s so dark inside my mind. These shows are soothing in a weird way – the danger’s not real, it’s kind of familiar but there are little twists. There’s a fun timidity to the British murder mystery.

The last book I stayed awake reading was…

Either/​Or by Elif Batuman. I loved The Idiot – it’s one of my favourite books, about a girl who goes to college in Boston and learns so much she feels she’s stupid. I related to that for many reasons that are probably not too hard to read into. Either/​Or is the sequel and I really loved it too.

The last new word I learned was…

Cartouche. I had to cut a cartouche in The Bear pilot, which is like a piece of parchment paper that you cut into a circle and put over a soup to trap the steam.

The last meme that made me laugh aloud was…

I’m so sorry to Jeremy, but we sometimes send him stuff about people thirsting after him in the group chat, and he gets really mad at us. There was this one that called him Ketamine Gene Wilder”. That poor man! He’s so normal and so devoted to his wife and children. Poor man… I’m sorry but it’s true.


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