Bill Hader Recalls Having On-Camera Panic Attack Live on SNL

Having a panic attack is a terrifying experience to begin with–now try having one while performing on live television in front of millions of viewers.

In a new interview with Vanessa Bayer and her brother Jonah on their podcast “How Did We Get Weird,” Bill Hader recalls the time he was in a sketch with Bayer on Saturday Night Live when he suddenly had a ‘full blown’ panic attack.

The sketch in question required the cast to pretend they were moving in slow-motion, and as Hader recalls, “I got out on my mark and suddenly lost all confidence that I could act in slow motion–like I forgot how to do it–and I just panicked, and I grabbed your arm, and I was like, wait, I don’t know what I’m doing. It was just this awful, like, blank.”

Hader can indeed be seen holding Bayer’s arm in a YouTube video of the “Woodbridge High/Slow Motion Hallway” sketch, but it’s not otherwise evident that he was in distress.

YouTube player

Speaking with Bayer, Hader recalls, “I think you thought I was having an issue with the cue cards or something, and [afterwards] you were like ‘was everything OK?’ And I was just like, ‘no, I just had a full blown [panic attack].”

Hader has extensively discussed his struggles with anxiety at the show in recent years, telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2022, “The live aspect of SNL — I’m just not built for it.”

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