18 Things to Know About Kate Berlant

Everything you need to know about the incredible Jewish actress, stand-up comedian, and writer.

If you you’re a comedy fan, you know Kate Berlant. If you’re not, you’ve still probably seen this wickedly funny Jewish comedian in a movie, on TV, online, or will see her in any number of upcoming projects.

But enough with introductions. Let’s jump in to 18 things to know about Kate Berlant:

1. She was born in Los Angeles to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother of Spanish and Cuban heritage.

Check out this POWER couple:

2. Both of Kate’s parents are artists. Her father, Tony Berlant, is best known for collaging with found metal objects. Her mother, Helen Méndez Berlant, is an actor and performer who worked with Guy de Cointet, a Dadaist playwright.

As a child, Kate learned from her parents’ artistic friends that “to seize the stage, you had to stand up and shout,” her father told Los Angeles Magazine in a 2018 interview.

3. Kate has a sense of humor about her Jewish features and appearance. In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Kate described her features as “violently Hasidic” and in the same year tweeted this:

“Mine is slightly anti-semitically coded witch in an old movie,” responded Mara Wilson, the Jewish 90s child actress known for her roles in the movies “Matilda” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Cool, Jewish celebs interacting online? You LOVE to see it.

4. As a child, Kate first got a taste of comedy by distorting her face for laughs, or what she now calls doing “feminist appropriations of the grotesque.” As Kate said, “I’ve always tried to burst through any and all moments by making some grotesque face or gesture, or just being physical, and it’s physical performers I’m always really drawn to,”

5. One of her first acting gigs was as “Student #2” in an episode of Disney Channel’s “Lizzie McGuire.”

Hey, Kate, very cool line!

6. She attended New York University where she created her own program of study in “the cultural anthropology of comedy.” Later, she also received her master’s in performance studies from NYU.

7. Kate’s best friend is comedian John Early. “We really did have a shared language prior to ever knowing each other. It was a feeling of recognizing John as my friend instead of, ‘Oh, we forged a friendship.’ There was zero work or labor,” Kate said of their friendship in a 2018 interview with FLOOD Magazine. “We met, and John spent every night at my house, practically, for two years. I truly would watch him leave my apartment out the window, like falling in love. It sounds cheesy—it is cheesy. But our friendship was romantic.”

They shared a debut on The Tonight Show in 2017 with this hilarious stand-up routine based on their friendship:

You can also watch them in projects together like the short film, “The Dinner Party,” their Vimeo mini-series “555,” the short film “Rachel,” and TBS’s “Search Party.”

8. Kate thinks women should have the right to steal whatever cosmetics they want. Or at least she says so in a 2015 stand-up performance on Comedy Central’s “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.”

Listen to her very sound and funny reasoning here:

9. The hilarious and also Jewish Sarah Silverman has been a mentor figure for Kate. “She made my life possible,” Berlant has said of Silverman.

“She is so totally in the moment,” Silverman said, reciprocating the love. “I love her stream-of-consciousness style of performance. It’s like the most sincere, earnest magic trick.”

10. In 2016, Kate Berlant wrote, executive produced, and starred in her own episode of “The Characters” on Netflix.

Here she is as Denise St. Roy, a sharp parody of artist Marina Abramović:

Huh…I wonder what inspired her to parody artists and art culture?

11. Berlant proudly reps her interfaith heritage. She and BFF John Early made another 2017 appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to do a bit about holiday gift ideas. Personally, we think she looks fantastic in her red and green dress with the menorah headpiece:

You can watch the full clip here:

12. Kate’s had some choice words for former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C, the pièce de résistance:

13. Remember when we said we loved to see Jewish celebs interacted online? Well, we also love to see them interacting IRL. Here are some HOT photos of Kate Berlant hanging with the one and only King Princess:

14. Kate has expressed that she wants to do more stand-up than acting. “With film and TV, it’s so ephemeral,” Kate said in an interview. Also adding, “I’m a woman, so it’s like, they’ll set me on fire after a certain age, so my dream is to be able to do stand-up, to have audiences come and see you.”

15. She had an ICONIC cameo in season one of the Netflix sketch show “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.” TBH there’s not much else to say here. You really just have to watch the sketch:

16. Berlant and her friend, fellow comedian Jaqueline Novak, recently launched “POOG,” a podcast about wellness culture. In an interview with Vogue, Kate explained that “POOG” was borne out of her friendship Novak. “The goal was to frame it as wellness. That is the common obsession and fascination,” she said. “But the podcast is merely a vessel for us to process our lives. Poog was always essentially an existential dilemma.”

Here’s a clip from a recent episode where the pair discusses Pringles in a way you’ve probably never heard before:

17. Kate is no stranger to an animated comedy series. She’s voiced multiple characters on “BoJack Horseman,” Lara Trump on “Our Cartoon President,” the Woman Taking Up Space Lady on season one of “Tuca & Bertie,” and as a character in FX’s short-form animation show “Cake.”

Here’s a hilarious and #deep clip of from the latter:

18. Kate has roles in multiple forthcoming and super exciting projects.

This summer, we learned that that Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson was working to create a TV series based on the classic women’s sports film A League of Their Own.” Though there is little information about the show and when it will drop, according to IMDB Kate’s character is named Shirley Rosen…so needless to say, we’re plotzing.

You can also expect to see her in Olivia Wilde’s highly anticipated film “Don’t Worry Darling” with Harry Styles (!!) and Florence Pugh (!!!)

Not going to lie: That cast has a level of beauty that we’re not sure if we can handle.

We can’t wait for the Kate Berlant to continue to be everywhere!!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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