Nicole Byer Would Like to Win An Emmy—And She Absolutely Should

Nicole Byer dishes on realizing she's the first Black woman to be nominated in her Emmys category and why Nailed It is the perfect quarantine show.

By Lauren Piester Jul 31, 2020 12:55 AMTags

What a treat, what a dream. 

This week's Emmy nominations included a lot of wonderful surprises, but none quite as delicious as the nod for Nicole Byer. The host of Nailed It (and many, many podcasts) is up for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program, alongside big names like RuPaul, Amy Poehler, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and the entire casts of Queer Eye and Shark Tank.

She's also the first Black woman to ever be nominated in the category, a fact she says she found out from Wikipedia. 

"I was like, 'I think I'm the first,' and it feels cool," she said with a big laugh. "It feels really f--king cool, to be honest. Also it's just like, God, I think 2008 is the first year they had the category, so it kinda sucks that it took 12 years." 

Emmys 2020: Stars React to Their Nominations

Byer also just so happens to host what is probably the oddest reality show on the list, especially compared to the competition shows. Contestants on Nailed It—which is nominated for Outstanding Competition Program for the second year in a row—are almost never actually good at the fancy desserts they're trying to recreate. In fact, you could say they're all pretty terrible at them, especially under a time limit. But that's the beauty of the show.


"I think it's just like a silly show where we don't celebrate people who are perfect," she said. "Nobody on the show is perfect, and everyone's just like trying hard. And I think Instagram and social media and all that s--t is just like, everything's excellent. It's people showing you the best that we can do, and our show's like, you don't have to be the absolute best. You just have to be, like, kinda good and try." 

Byer says she's definitely noticed an uptick in people watching during quarantine. 

"It's just kind of nice that people can turn on the show and just forget about what's going on in the world," she said. "That's so cool to me." 

Nicole Byer Writes Poignant Script for Parents On How To Explain Black Lives Matter To Kids

Byer herself is a major part of why Nailed It works so well. She's not RuPaul levels of polished (though who among us is?), unable to keep a straight face when she eats bad cake and occasionally rolling around on the floor just for fun. She and head judge Jacques Torres love to call each other little nicknames, and her ability to pull a slightly inappropriate joke out of absolutely nowhere is unparalleled. 

The show has a sort of messy, chaotic vibe that makes it, as Byer pointed out, a seriously delightful alternative to scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest or even to watching other food shows, where food doesn't even look like food, and where food isn't hilarious. 

Some of the best, biggest laughs we've ever had have come from the final reveals on Nailed It, and from Byer's reactions to those reveals. It never fails to bring us joy, even as joy is getting harder to come by in the real world. 

Byer has often said on her podcast Why Won't You Date Me? that 2020 was going to be her year. She still hasn't found someone to date her thanks to the global pandemic (though "the year is not over"), but an Emmy nom is a pretty good indication that she might have been right after all, even if this year's Emmys end up going virtual. 

"It kinda sucks, not just that it might be a virtual ceremony, but also there's a lot of s--t going on in the world," she said. "But maybe if people wore masks, we would have had a summer and a nice fall."

Even if the Emmys do go virtual, there's at least one thing that will still be true. 

"If I win, I get an Emmy!" Byer said. 

The 75th Emmy Awards will now air Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 on Fox.