Who is Ayo Edebiri? The Life and Controversies of an Award-Winning Comedian

Ayo Edebiri, comedian, writer, producer and actress stole hearts with her captivating performance as Chef Sydney Adamu in the comedy-drama series 'The Bear' earning her multiple nomination and awards.

3 mins read
Ayo Edebiri: From Aspiring Teacher to Award-Winning Comedian
Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Ayo Edebiri born in October 1995 is an African American comedian, writer, producer, and actress. Despite initial plans to study teaching at NYU, she shifted her focus to dramatic writing, marking the beginning of her journey into the entertainment and comedy industry.

Edebiri discovered her passion for comedy during eighth-grade drama class and later joined the improv club at Boston Latin School. 

She went on to win the 2023 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and the 2024 Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series among other notable nominations.

Background and Early Aspirations

Photo credit: Reuters

Born and raised in Boston to a mother from Barbados and a father from Nigeria, Ayo grew up in a religious Pentecostal household. 

Edebiri’s parents have played a significant role in shaping her journey as a comedian and actress. Despite the traditional upbringing, her parents have been supportive of her pursuits in the entertainment industry.

In her college years at New York University, Ayo initially planned to study teaching, a path that her parents encouraged. However, two and a half years into her education, Ayo decided to shift her focus to become a dramatic writing major, marking the beginning of her journey into the world of entertainment and comedy.

During her Emmy’s speech she said to her parents,

“love you guys so much. Thank you so much for loving me and letting me feel beautiful and Black and proud of all of that. I love you so much. It’s probably not a dream to emigrate to this country and have your child be like, ‘I wanna do improv!’ But you’re real ones.” 

Success Story

Ayo began her journey in comedy while studying dramatic writing at New York University. She gained recognition with a stand-up set featured on Comedy Central’s “Up Next” and co-wrote her digital series, which aired on the network. Edebiri’s career soared as she contributed to the writers’ rooms of notable shows like FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows,” Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” and Apple TV+’s “Dickinson.”

In the fourth season of “Big Mouth,” Ayo Edebiri joined the cast, taking over the character Missy after Jenny Slate’s departure. She also became a main cast member on the critically acclaimed series “The Bear,” portraying the character Sydney Adamu, a skilled chef and Chicago native.

Ayo Edebiri’s achievements speak volumes about her talent and dedication. In a remarkable week, she clinched the Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and Emmy for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Bear.” Notably, her win at the Emmys marked only the third time a Black woman has won in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category in the show’s history.

Ayo’s remarkable success has been recognized with numerous accolades, including awards from BAFTA, Critics Choice, and People’s Choice Award. 


Ayo Edebiri has gotten her fair share of controversies. One notable incident involved her potential casting in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 6,’ replacing Johnny Depp. This decision sparked outrage among some fans who felt that casting Edebiri as Anne, based on the historical figure Anne Bonny, was a casting gaffe and accused Disney of “blackwashing.”

Additionally, Ayo faced criticism for past comments about Jennifer Lopez

“I appreciate a good scam. Today, I was actually thinking about one of my favorite scams of all time, because J. Lo is performing at the Super Bowl halftime show,” Edebiri said during a 2020 podcast interview. 

The actress and comedian addressed the issue during her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live, offering a tearful apology to Jennifer. 

“She was mortified and very sweet…She came to my dressing room and apologized with tears in her eyes, saying how terrible it was that she had said those things.” “She felt really badly and loved my performance because we had just done my soundcheck, and she actually got to hear me perform. She was just like, ‘I’m so f**king sorry, it was so awful of me,’  Jennifer told Variety.

In the skit “Why’d You Say It?” during her SNL appearance, Ayo acknowledged her past mistakes and emphasized the importance of thoughtfulness in online interactions.

“It’s wrong to leave mean comments or post comments just for clout or [to] run your mouth on a podcast, and you don’t consider the impact because you’re 24 and stupid, but I think I speak for everyone when I say, from now on, we’re gonna be a lot more thoughtful about what we post online.” 

Leave a Reply