If you caught SNL this weekend, or the Emmys two weeks ago and found yourself wondering, “Who’s that tall British lady making all those jokes/winning all those awards?” not to worry, because here at The Prompt, we’ve been on the Phoebe Waller-Bridge beat since, oh, 2016.
Whether you’re a PWB newbie, or a fan trying to fill a Fleabag-sized hole in your heart, we’ll fill you in on who she is and why you should love her.
A British writer and actress, PWB broke out here in the U.S. when Fleabag season one dropped on Amazon in 2016. The series was adapted from a one-woman play of the same name that Waller-Bridge performed, and won an award for, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. Waller-Bridge won a BAFTA for season one, and the show had a fair amount of acclaim here in the U.S., at least among TV critic circles.
But in 2019, season two fully took the internet by storm, thanks in part to the addition of one very Hot Priest (and a hefty marketing campaign from Amazon).
Fleabag tallied 11 Emmy nominations this year, and pretty much dominated the night, taking home 6 trophies, including big wins for, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Waller-Bridge herself.
Waller-Bridge also won the internet the next day, when this excellent photo made the rounds on Twitter:
Meanwhile, on the dramatic side of things, Jodie Comer won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the second season of Killing Eve, which was also created by Waller-Bridge (adapted from a series of novellas written by Luke Jennings). Waller-Bridge wrote four episodes in the show’s first season, and although she was not the showrunner of season two, as the show’s creator she still shared in the season’s Outstanding Drama Series nomination (it lost to Game of Thrones’ final season).
So for those keeping track at home, yes: Phoebe Waller-Bridge was nominated for both Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series at the 2019 Emmys. Get you a writer who can do both!
Well, first of all, fix that and go watch Fleabag right now. I standby my review of season one, and promise that all of the praise for season two is in no way overstated—it really is that good! I promise!
So until you check it out, you might recognize Waller-Bridge’s distinctive, witty voice from Solo: A Star Wars Story, in which she played L3-37, a particularly outspoken droid. She was also in season two of the British drama series Broadchurch, although you may not have recognized her as a buttoned-up junior barrister.
Broadchurch is an incredible drama series, but it is also extremely heavy, and Waller-Bridge doesn’t play a huge role in it. Outside of assorted one-off roles on a variety of British series, the most Waller-Bridge bang for your buck you can get is on the show Crashing.
Made for Channel 4 in the UK in 2016 (the same year as Fleabag! Waller-Bridge is nothing if not a multitasker) and streaming on Netflix in the U.S., Crashing is a light, raunchy comedy about a bunch of misfit twenty-somethings living in…an abandoned hospital, for some reason? I don’t know! Just assume it’s a British thing and go with it. Waller-Bridge wrote and stars in the series, which comes in at six 22-ish minute episodes, AKA the perfect size for a quick post-Fleabag binge. The show is perfectly enjoyable and definitely has the Waller-Bridge sense of humor in it, but don’t expect it to reach the emotional depths of Fleabag, which for now remains her true masterpiece.
Apparently, Waller-Bridge has been brought on to “liven up” the script for the forthcoming James Bond movie, No Time to Die. Bringing in additional writers to re-write, polish, or punch-up a script is fairly commonplace in Hollywood, but this is still an intriguing move. The beloved Bond franchise is not one that’s known for being particularly open to change, so bringing in a young female comedy writer to work on the story could finally be the signal of progress that many fans of the series have been waiting for.
And on the small screen, Waller-Bridge is co-executive producing (along with Vicky Jones, her collaborator on both Fleabag and Killing Eve) a comedy series called Run for HBO. The series will star Merritt Wever (!!!) and Domhnall Gleeson (!!!!!!), and Waller-Bridge will also appear in a few episodes. No word yet on when this will premiere, but it will be a must-watch for the ever-growing PWB fan club. Hopefully, dear reader, that now includes you!