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'Girl Code' Star Nicole Byer Talks Body Image, Tasteful Vulgarity At USC

Sahil Dhaliwal |
April 21, 2015 | 2:38 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Nicole Byer of MTV's "Girl Code" is confident in her own skin (Photo courtesy of Paloma Martinez).
Nicole Byer of MTV's "Girl Code" is confident in her own skin (Photo courtesy of Paloma Martinez).

Actress, comedian, writer and breakout star of MTV's "Girl Code" Nicole Byer entertained USC with quite a memorable night on Monday, Apr. 20. Byer's visit included a night of stand up, a hilarious interview and a private Q&A session with students at Seeley G. Mudd Hall. 

The event was presented by USC Program Board's Speakers Committee and proved to be a night full of laughter, shock and advice.

READ MORE: Jessica Alba Speaks To USC On The Business Of Being Honest

Byer joked about everything from her strong dislike of Halle Berry to her Nestle commercial that only runs in Israel to "Winnie The Pooh-ing" to her webseries "The Pursuit of Sexiness."

Soon after graduating from a performing arts college, Byer started performing sketch comedy and improv at UCB, otherwise known as Upright Citizen's Brigade.

UCB, Byer added, has been an incredible opportunity which allowed her to meet amazing performers and collaborate with other comedians, writers and actors. She strongly encourages aspiring performers to attend UCB shows and take classes. In fact, it was at UCB that she met Sasheer Zamata, who became her "Pursuit of Sexiness" co-creator three years later.

Popular topics in her sets often revolve around race, body image and sexuality. During the Q&A, Byer put the jokes aside and got serious for a moment...but only a moment.

When asked if she thinks comedy routines help promote a positive body image, Byer stated, "I think when people get to see someone who looks like them, I think that inspires people to do what they want to do...I like the body I have right now. Maybe, sure, one day I'll want to change it but for now I love who I am so I think its good for women of all different body tpes to hear people say 'I'm okay. I love me. This is good for now. Maybe in the future I'll change but maybe not. Maybe I'll eat all the cookies!"

As students roared with laughter during her comedy set, there were also a few gasps in the crowd, shocked at Byer's blunt and (in her own words) "vulgar" comedy.

"People don't think I'm this vulgar in real life!" Byer explained, regarding common assumptions from her role on "Girl Code."

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Byer also offered some insight on the line comedians often have to balance between being offensive and funny.

"Like Amy Schumer does a really good job of towing the line. And she is sometimes pretty offensive but for the most part I'm like 'I think we're all in on the joke'...Tina Fey is kind of like borderline offensive sometimes, like she's got a lot of race jokes and, you know, she is a privileged white woman writing these race jokes, but I still find it funny because I think there's like a twinkle in it. I think if you're being malicious, then its offenisve as opposed to like 'here's something fun that I figured out!" Byer said.

You can watch Nicole Byer perform sketch comedy at UCB Sunset on Maude Night and improv every Sunday night at UCB Franklin.

The next USC Speakers Committee event features professional American basketball player, Jason Collins, on Wednesday, Apr. 22. 

Follow the USC Speakers Committee on Twitter here and Nicole Byer here.

Reach Staff Reporter Sahil Dhaliwal here and follow her on Twitter here



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