Kate Berlant and John Early

24th June 2022

Kate Berlant and John Early have been performing as a comedy duo for over a decade now – their brand of comedy is a little surreal, a little unhinged and always laugh-at-loud funny. They just created an hour long sketch special called Would It Kill You To Laugh? – it debuts on Peacock today. John and Kate talk with Jesse about how they met, how they balance their creative partnership with their independent work and why Kate should have eaten a tuna melt before sitting down to her NPR interview.

Episode notes

John Early and Kate Berlant at Maximum Fun

(Photo: Kevin Ferguson)

Kate Berlant and John Early are comedians and frequent collaborators. They met in 2012, when a mutual friend booked them to perform on the same show, and have been inseparable ever since. As actors, Kate’s appeared in movies like Sorry to Bother You and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. John has appeared on Search Party, 30 Rock and The After Party.
Their particular brand of comedy is surreal and a little unhinged. On stage, they veer between intense platonic love in one moment, and in others: seething contempt, thinly masked with backhanded compliments and probing questions. When they do sketches, it’s equally unhinged, but usually surreal and a little unnerving.
Their newest project combines both of those practices into one very funny special. It’s called Would It Kill You To Laugh, premiering this week on Peacock.
Here’s the premise: John Early and Kate Berlant play fictionalized versions of themselves. Decades ago, their characters starred on a smash hit sitcom called “He’s Gay, She’s Half-Jewish.” Shortly after the show wrapped, they had a very public falling out.
Between the sketches in Would It Kill You To Laugh, Kate and John reunite for an interview with journalist Meredith Vieira and it becomes clear that, y’know… it’s been a while, but those old wounds haven’t *completely* healed.

Kate and John talk with Jesse about how they met, how their partnership has evolved over the years and why they get joy out of playing bad people.

 

In this episode...

Producer
Associate Producer
Maximum Fun Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow

Guests

  • John Early
  • Kate Berlant

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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Producer

Associate Producer

Maximum Fun Producer

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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