On Jan. 14, just a day before The Bear and Bottoms star Ayo Edebiri would win her first Emmy, the actress, writer and comedian would shout out Ireland while accepting a Critics Choice Award for best actress in a comedy.
“I want to thank my real family, I don’t know if they have CW abroad. To everybody in Boston, Barbados, Nigeria, Ireland in many ways,” she told the crowd at the Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport. “Thank you so much.”
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Three out of four places Edebiri had mentioned would have made sense to any general viewer or show attendee that night. Edebiri was born in Boston to a Barbadian mother and Nigerian father, both of whom have been thanked in speeches and captured in memorable photos alongside the actress during her busy awards season.
And while Boston has a history of a strong Irish American community (and Ireland has historical ties to the Barbados), that’s not why Edebiri gave props to the country that night — or the following night as she walked the red carpet ahead of winning the 2023 Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy.
“Shout out to my people! Shout out to Derry, shout out to Cork! Shout out to Killarney, shout out to Dublin!” she told Entertainment Tonight on Monday night.
It’s all part of a running gag that began with a red carpet interview with Letterboxd in March of last year. While promoting her film comedy Bottoms, the actress joked that she had starred in awards darling The Banshees of Inisherin as the stubborn donkey Jenny, the animal companion of Colin Farrell’s character, Pádraic.
“I lived in Ireland for about four months and I got really in character,” Edebiri said, joking in her take on an Irish accent. “I was on all fours for four months and it was really painful, but beautiful as well.”
The joke was in line with her general comedic approach to her own profile on Letterboxd, a social platform designed for sharing and discovering opinions on film that frequently doubles as a factory for memes and online jokes. In her review of The Departed, Edebiri jokingly claimed she “was the dialect coach on this movie” but only for the term microprocessors.
“I taught everyone how to say the word microprocessors in the funniest way possible, and I did an amazing job,” the comedian wrote.
Her joke from the Bottoms carpet eventually went viral, with fans on social media going on to dub her an Irish princess (of which some in Ireland would eventually give her the honorary title). In November of last year, while promoting the digital release of Bottoms, Edebiri made the reference again, this time calling Ireland her “home nation” on TikTok.
Ireland native, Ayo Edebiri via TikTok. pic.twitter.com/bcQxJXdXac
— Ayo Edebiri Updates (@ayosource) November 9, 2023
Now, the gag has continued through the (delayed 2023 and) 2024 awards season, with the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Emmy winner repeatedly giving thanks to the nation, which has embraced her back.
Users on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, as well as Instagram, TikTok and more have excitedly cheered as Edebiri has traversed awards season alongside Irish actors like All of Us Strangers’ Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, Oppenheimer’s Cillian Murphy and Saltburn’s Barry Keoghan. Bridgerton star and Irish actress Nicola Coughlan even screenshotted the Bear star’s ET interview in which she shouts out Derry, writing, “We’re so proud of you our girl,” before tagging Edebiri in an Instagram story.
Outlets like The Irish Times have also embraced the joke, declaring they are “proud” to call her one of their own, with site Film in Dublin even congratulating her on her BAFTA Rising Star nomination alongside publishing a list of the “Irish” actress’ best films. “For the record,” they tweeted, “yes we do know where Edebiri is actually from (ireland).”
Congratulations to Ireland's own Ayo Edebiri for her nomination for the 2024 BAFTA Rising Star Award 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/Rx0y7nEHPq
— Film In Dublin (@filmindublin) January 10, 2024
Here’s hoping she keeps showing pride for her “found” family alongside her real one.
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