The Truth About Nailed It! Host Nicole Byer

Nicole Byer is anything but a closed book. And, as a hilarious stand up comic, writer, host, actress and much more, she does it all. Perhaps her most famous gig is as host of the Netflix baking fail competition, Nailed It!.

She's hysterical, and not just on scripted shows. Her unfiltered attitude is also a talk-show host's dream. She's gone so far as to tell viewers of The Late Late Show with James Corden about her penchant for nicking toilet paper. In the same episode, she had everyone in stitches as she judged staffers' attempts to recreate a design of James' likeness on a cake.

She's not in the least bit shy — even online —s o her social media accounts are comedy gold. On Twitter, there's everything from hilarious performances with her roommates to funny quarantine updates.

With just so much to learn about the talented comedian, you may have missed out on a few things. Here's everything you need to know about Nailed It! host Nicole Byer.

A career in stand-up wasn't on Nicole Byer's list

Nicole Byer's live shows are a riot, so it's a bit surprising that she wasn't aiming for a career in stand-up comedy. 

Byer grew up in New Jersey and eventually moved to New York City, where she waited tables. Predictably, this wasn't the end goal, but she didn't initially think to perform on stage. 

She says the restaurant was so bad, Kitchen Nightmares even featured it once. Byer describes it in an interview with WBUR News as "one-third Irish bar, one-third Indian restaurant... one-third cabaret room." 

She worked as a server in the cabaret room part of the place, where she was watching people perform stand-up. Her personality garnered more tips than her serving skills. As she says, "They would give me a lot of money because they were like, 'You're very funny. You have to get out of here. You're very bad at this [waiting tables].'" 

Those comments led to her studying improv, and stand-up followed closely behind.

Performing helped Nicole Byer through tragedy

Nicole Byer found her career in stand-up accidentally, but performing has always been important to her. Before it became her profession, she used it as a way to cope with personal tragedy. 

Byer had to deal with a devastating loss when her mother passed away while she was still in high school. She tells NPR that at the time, she was part of her first play — which her mom had encouraged her to do. She says, "...it took my mind off of things. I didn't have to be me for the two hours of play rehearsal."

And it's not the only tragedy Byer had to deal with at a very young age. At just 21, when she was living in New York, she lost her father, too. It was the comedy that helped her pull through it all. 

"When my dad died, I was doing improv. I didn't have to be me — I could go on stage and be like, 'I'm an elephant!' Or whatever..." she explains. "So yeah, it was a blessing that I had found these things before they passed away so I could escape."

Nicole Byer found her comedic footing in the Upright Citizens Brigade

Nicole Byer's career started in one of the most well-respected improv groups around — she is lucky enough to be an alumni of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). From Amy Poehler and Neil Flynn to Adam McKay and Matt Walsh, UCB has given several stars their start.

Though she now also counts of one of the group's famous alumni, Byer is still featured on their website

The Upright Citizens Brigade even produced her first web series. Called The Pursuit of Sexiness, the popular web series was written and co-created by Byer. Starring Byer and SNL's Sasheer Zamata, it followed the adventures of two young women looking for love (and causing a lot of trouble along the way). Huffington Post recommended it to viewers after watching just the first episode, saying they couldn't wait to see what came next. It also made it to the list of Variety's best series of 2013.

Nicole Byer is the host of some amazing podcasts

Funny, provocative, and outspoken, Nicole Byer is no stranger to telling it like it is. And, there's no better place to hear everything she has to say than on one of her many podcasts. 

One of her first, launched in 2017, is a weekly podcast called Why Won't You Date Me?. It's a hilarious quest to finding companionship — but it's also about much more. She and her guests discuss everything from dating while in quarantine to relationships gone wrong. 

With Sasheer Zamata, Byer created Best Friends in 2019. On it, the two answer listener questions and talk about friendship-related issues.

Nicole also collaborated with actress Lauren Lapkus to host Newcomers: Star Wars. The two watched and discussed every single Star Wars film ever made for the first time and discussed them with fans (via Vulture). From January to March 2020, they recorded nine episodes.

In 2020, Byer teamed up with another one of her best friends, Marcy Jarreau, a writer on Brooklyn Nine-Nine to create 90 Day Bae. On this podcast, they share hilarious takes on 90 Day Fiancé, inspired by texts they sent each other about the series.

Nicole Byer is all about body positivity

Nicole Byer is a big supporter of being body-positive, but she wouldn't necessarily call it that. She told The Washington Post that she simply believes in not hating the body you're in. "I don't think you need to be positive about it. I think if you don't like what you see you can change it," she says.

One of the ways she spreads the message is comedy. But apart from podcasts, television, and stand-up, she also participates in panel discussions. 

In 2017, she took part in the SXSW discussion, How Humor is Evolving The Body Positivity Movement. It was led by Editor-in-Chief of SELF Magazine, Carolyn Kylstra. The panel also included writer Akilah Hughes and digital editorial director from Teen Vogue, Phillip Picardi. 

Byers told Brit + Co in 2018, "No one's truly ugly. You're always beautiful to somebody, and you're always ugly to somebody. You shouldn't even worry about what other people think," she explains. "You shouldn't even worry about what other people think. You should just look in the mirror and be like, 'I'm a f***in' badass babe!' And that took me a very long time to get to. But I like who I am. I look in the mirror and I'm like, 'Ooh, what a sexy motherf***er.' I'm happy!"

Nicole Byer's first book is hilarious, but it also has a strong message

Nicole Byer's authorial debut takes her body-positivity one step further. In #VeryFat #VeryBrave, available in June 2020, she gets the message across with humor. You can tell just by the tagline: "The Fat Girl's Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini."

In it, Byer shares activities you can do in a bikini and tips for finding the perfect bikini, as well as how to handle haters. There's also an inside look into her impressive bikini collection. 

And as if that wasn't enough, she also shares tips to being brave and comfortable in your skin. Nicole calls it a comedic self-help book that she felt was needed because, "any time a fat woman posts a photo on Instagram, people always comment and say, 'You're so brave!'" She called it a "very tongue-in-cheek, self-help guide on how you can be as brave as I am" (via Shondaland). 

Diets are not Nicole Byer's thing

Nicole Byer is no stranger to diets. The comedian has tried several, though she says she never wants to be a thin person. 

She's been on the low-carb Atkins diet, the ketogenic diet, and others. She's found, though, that none of them are for her. And it's not because she's still on the search for the perfect diet. In fact, she doesn't want to be on any kind of diet, ever again.

In an interview with Healthyish in 2018, she said that the root of her problem isn't the type of diet. It's the fact that she likes to binge. As she puts it in the interview, "If you eat 100 oranges, it defeats the purpose of eating an orange."

She's sworn off dieting, but that doesn't mean that she isn't doing what she can to stay healthy. "Exercising does help with life. Endorphins are real and it's annoying because I don't like to exercise," she says. "I hate running, but I started weight lifting like 150 pounds, and it's fun and it makes me feel accomplished."

Nicole Byer thinks people need to lighten up

Nicole Byer has been called "aggressively adorable," and doesn't mince words, so, she's bound to occasionally rub people the wrong way with her unique sense of humor. It's all subjective, and she's aware that certain people may love a joke others will hate. But, she does think people need to lighten up a little.

In an interview with Metro, she said she thinks that people love getting offended, and she doesn't let it affect her work. "When I write jokes I don't really keep that in the back of my mind because I feel like I would just make myself crazy trying to please an audience."

"People also forget that it's not literal," she says, adding, "it's all just jokes and heightened. When you condemn a comic for an hour of comedy they did, that's insane because I'm sure you liked a little bit of it."

One of Nicole Byer's first TV roles was on 30 Rock

Even before the Netflix show Nailed It! made her so famous, Nicole was no stranger to television. After the popularity of her web series, The Pursuit of Sexiness, she made several appearances on TV. 

Most notably, in 2013, when she joined MTV comedy series, Girl CodeThe show saw several female personalities sharing tips, tricks, discussing issues, and much more about "The wonder and woes of womanhood."

She's also made appearances on The Good Place, Transparent, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But before any of these came knocking, Nicole bagged a guest spot on none other than 30 Rock. In 2012, she made her TV debut on an episode of the show starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. She played a Mo'Nique lookalike in an episode in season six, called "Grandmentor".

Her role may have been a small one, but she was as entertaining as ever.

Nicole Byer's scripted show, Loosely Exactly Nicole, saw several ups and downs

After small appearances on shows like 30 Rock, Party Over Here, and Lady Dynamite, it wasn't long before Nicole Byer was given a leading role.

In 2016, MTV agreed to make a single-camera show called Loosely, Exactly Nicole. This not only gave her the chance to have her own show; it was one loosely based on her own life. "Not every episode is completely and utterly verbatim my life but then there are some episodes that are," she told Entertainment Weekly.

While the semi-autobiographical show was fun to shoot, it was a bit of a bumpy ride. The experience of making it was incredibly draining for Byer. She found the shoot grueling and ended up exhausted and out of energy (via Vulture). 

Still, the hilarious show was well-received by fans. But the mixed reviews and low ratings meant MTV canceled it after one season. 

Byer was devastated by the cancellation, but that wasn't the end of the road for the show. Fans were delighted when it was picked up for a second season by Facebook Watch in 2017. 

However, in 2018, Loosely, Exactly Nicole was canceled again. With the roller coaster the show has been on, it wouldn't be surprising if that's not the end of the journey.

Nicole Byer agreed to get married for a surprising reason

She's hilarious, charming, confident... and still single? 

It's hard to believe, but the comedian told The Guardian in 2019 that she's been single almost her whole life. She thinks a lot of it has to do with stereotypes and misguided standards of beauty. "I live in LA, where you have the creme de la creme of bodies to choose from. If you are a shallow person, body type is a thing. Being a black woman is a thing," she says. However, this experience hasn't made her bitter. She still believes in love and that she's going to find it.

She may be single now, but she was once married. 

Writers of her show, Loosely Exactly Nicole, actually used the story in one of the episodes. In 2016 she opened up to Entertainment Weekly, saying, "On one episode, I get married to a man for money and he gets married to me for a green card... Now I can talk about it because the statute of limitations is up."

On an episode of Conan, she explained it further, saying it happened when she 20. "He was a teeny tiny little Indian man who wanted to stay in America, and I was a lady $30,000 in debt who wanted to continue living," she said. She said she got about half of that money from the "pretend marriage" (that ended in dovorce) but didn't spend any of it on her debt. 

Typecasting is Nicole Byer's pet peeve

If there's one thing Nicole Byer won't stand for, it's being typecast. Unfortunately, her early years in Hollywood included a lot of attempts to do just that. 

She talks about these experiences in her stand-up shows, and on episodes of Loosely, Exactly Nicole. A sketch she did with UCB about it that was particularly popular was called "Be Blacker." It was based on her experience of having to change the way she spoke or acted to fit a stereotype during auditions. 

In 2016, Byer spoke to USA Today about auditioning for such roles that felt like caricatures. She says, "I had one audition where the casting director said, 'I need you to be as black as possible, and if you're too black, I'll bring you back.' And I was like, what the (expletive) does that mean? You'll bring me back?'"

In an interview in 2019 with NPR, she talks about how long it took her to realize it was a microaggression, explaining, "It's hurtful when you realize, oh, Hollywood understands one type of black."

She hosts a baking show, but Nicole Byer doesn't know much about cake

Nicole Byer is most famous for her appearance on the popular Netflix baking competition, Nailed It!. In each episode, amateur bakers attempt to re-create some challenging edible treats. 

The appeal for competitors who often humiliate themselves is the $10,000 prize. But, it also helps to have someone as funny as Byer on set, who injects humor into every scene.

Even though she hosts and judges the competition, Byer isn't much of a baker. In an interview with Elle in 2018, she said, "Here's the thing. I just eat food. I'm not looking for pictures of it unless it's, like, tasty food at a restaurant. I'm not heavily into baking." Of course, she does love a good cake; her favorite type is a pound cake. 

And, she may not know how to bake, but she knowswhat a cake is. She told Elle a cake is "spongey bread with frosting or buttercream or fondant on it." So, she's got all the tools she needs to host the show.