Ever since Henry Winkler won his first Primetime Emmy last fall, walking through the airport just hasn’t been the same.

“I’ll tell you where the validation comes,” he tells The Post. “It’s in the airport that you know whether or not what you’re doing is having an effect because there are people going and coming from every part of this country in every shape, size and age . . . saying, ‘Oh, my God, I love ‘Barry’! You’re so great on “Barry!” ‘I can’t wait for the second season of “Barry!” ‘”

They don’t have to wait long. “Barry,” an HBO dark comedy, returns for its second season on Sunday with Bill Hader as the hitman-turned-aspiring actor Barry Berkman. Winkler plays Barry’s affected acting coach, Gene Cousineau — and it’s that outsize, outrageous performance that finally won him the trophy that’s eluded him for the past 40-odd years.

Now 73, the native Upper West Sider — a graduate of both PS 87 and the McBurney School — has been around Hollywood long enough to know its ins and outs. Winkler’s first big break was starring opposite Sylvester Stallone in the ’50s homage film “The Lords of Flatbush.”

Winkler played the Brooklyn gang’s smart aleck, Butchey Weinstein.

“I loved Butchey,” he says. “That movie took a year to make, and I made $2,000 that year, and I made friends with Sly. We finished filming on Sept. 16 or 17, 1973, and the next day I was on a plane with enough money for one month to see if I could make my way in Hollywood.”

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