- Courtesy Photo
- Nicole Byer
On the hit Netflix series "Nailed It!" amateur — read: lousy — bakers attempt to re-create fantastically ornate cakes made by professional cake artists. Challenges from the recently completed second season include a gigantic model of the solar system, a majestic unicorn and an enormous coiled snake. Constructing what are essentially edible sculptures out of little more than cake, buttercream and fondant is a tall order even for the world's most accomplished bakers. For the average and well-below-average home bakers competing on "Nailed It!" it's next to impossible, which is exactly the point.
The show is hilarious, and not only because of the epic cake fails. The show's host, Nicole Byer, is a dynamo and irresistibly charming. Half the fun is watching Byer and her cohost, acclaimed baker Jacques Torres, eat the contestants' cakes and try to come up with something, anything, constructive to say about how they could improve. (Pro tip: Don't forget the buttercream layers.)
The veteran standup and TV personality is also the host of her own deliriously raunchy podcast, Why Won't You Date Me? On it, she and her guests discuss the, er, ins and outs of their dating lives in often excruciating and always explicit detail.
Byer performs five shows over three nights, Thursday through Saturday, November 15 through 17, at the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington. Seven Days caught up with her by phone in Los Angeles to talk about her hit show, matching with "Pizza" on Tinder and finding love at an airport through Guy Fieri.
SEVEN DAYS: Are you a baker?
NICOLE BYER: Hell no, I don't bake. I get paid to make people bake for me.
SD: I don't bake much, either. But every time I watch "Nailed It!" I pick things up. And I feel like I would do pretty well on the show.
NB: That's what everybody says. But guess what? Everybody is pretty awful! They're all like, "I love to bake. I want to bake better for my kids!" And then I get served poison.
SD: How much of what you have to eat on the show is legitimately inedible?
NB: Ninety percent of it. It's all pretty awful. And you're watching people, like, mixing stuff with their hands, and it's like, "Did you wash your hands?"
SD: Here's my big question: Why do so many contestants forget the damn buttercream layers? It's basically the most important part of a cake.
NB: I think because there's a time constraint and they're trying to assemble something. So taking time to buttercream your layers, or put jam between your layers, is something people forget. But, a lot of times, how the cake tastes can save you, even if it looks like hell.
SD: How often do people accost you with baked goods now?
NB: People threaten to bring me baked goods all the time, and I always ask them not to, because I don't know what their kitchens are like. I don't know if they washed their hands or if the ingredients they used are expired. When people do bring me things, I will take it, but I'm not going to eat it.
SD: So it's kind of like not eating homemade stuff when you're trick-or-treating?
NB: Exactly. You can't eat homemade cookies when you're trick-or-treating. That's just insanity!
SD: Your podcast is called Why Won't You Date Me? Why won't people date you?
NB: Honestly, I don't know! But according to some guests, it's because I put up walls and I'm not vulnerable. I'm a little too much for some men, a little too loud, a little too aggressive and abrasive. So I think it's a combination of all those things.
SD: Are men intimidated by you?
NB: I don't think men are intimidated by me. But also ... maybe.
SD: What do you look for in a guy?
NB: A big dick.
NB: And after that, how they treat me. [Laughs.]
SD: Well, it's good to have priorities.
NB: It is. Really, they need to be attracted to me. They need to be funny, but they also need to understand that I'm funny. Sometimes I'll say something funny and then a guy will try and top it, and I'm like, "Dude, this isn't a competition. We're just having a conversation." So a man has to understand that I'm gonna be funny. And he can be funny. Both of us can tee hee hee and ha ha ha.
SD: Do you enjoy Tinder and dating apps?
NB: No! Nobody enjoys Tinder. I think the only people who do are men. I read an article that said men on Tinder date six women at a time. And I'm like, "That's so many women! How do you have time?" I'm busy.
SD: Does being a celebrity pose a challenge on Tinder?
NB: Oh, my God. I'm not a celebrity. I'm mildly successful.
SD: People know who you are.
NB: Some people do. Lately, a lot of boys do. It's just another thing to deal with because I don't know what they want from me. Sometimes they won't tell me they know who I am until the second date. And then they have all these questions, but I don't want to feel like I'm being interviewed. So it's a little weird.
SD: You matched with an avatar named "Pizza" on Tinder.
NB: I did! I mentioned it on my podcast because I thought Pizza unmatched me. Then Pizza messaged me and was like, "I did not un-match you." Then he messaged me again — or they messaged again, because I don't know what gender Pizza is — and they said, "I love you, Nicole. Why would you lie about this pie?" I didn't respond, because I didn't know Pizza was going to be so adamant about following up on Tinder.
SD: I think you need to go on a date with Pizza.
NB: But what if it's just a big pizza that rolls in, and then it cries when I eat it? That would be terrible.
SD: You've been on a bunch of bad dates, which you talk about a lot. What was the best date you've been on recently?
NB: It was to the Burbank airport.
SD: Go on...
NB: So, I like Guy Fieri. And this guy I was going on a date with also likes him — as, like, an entity, not as a person. He's funny to look at, and I love him.
So we were looking for a Guy Fieri restaurant in LA, but there isn't one. But there is one in the Burbank airport. But it's after security. So I bought two refundable plane tickets to Salt Lake City, and we went through TSA and took our shoes off to get into the airport. And then we ate at a Guy Fieri burger joint wearing matching flame shirts.