Ruthlessly uncensored, outrageously hilarious, Phoebe Waller-Bridge has become everyone’s favorite truth-teller. After a “ridiculous” year, what taboos will she break next?
IT SEEMS FITTING to begin in the bathroom. A seminal scene of Fleabag—the show that Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote, starred in, and blew all our minds with, winning an armload of Emmys in the process—takes place in one, with Waller-Bridge’s character cracking period jokes as her sister quietly miscarries in the toilet stall. Outside, in a dark, almost mobby restaurant, the rest of the family is enduring a god-awful dinner. The bathroom is the sanctum within the bunker, the place where secrets out and blood flows. So, at the end of lunch on a recent October afternoon, when Waller-Bridge suggested a joint trip to the loo (“We can pee together!”), I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious. Everything was cheerful, though. “Are you still recording?” Waller-Bridge joked from the adjacent stall. Definitely not, but the line was memorably her: slightly dirty, very droll, heedless of the fourth wall (and the one that separated the toilets). “Anything I can sing or say?” she continued as she washed her hands. I finally had to kick her and her inhibitingly good banter out of the bathroom. “I’m going, I’m going! It would be creepy if I pretended to leave but didn’t, wouldn’t it?” she said, her posh, redolent voice lingering as the door swung shut.
We were at The Playwright, a midtown pub and restaurant that is a sentimental favorite of perhaps no one except Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She first went there in 2000 [ . . . ]