Those looking to experience the new face, shape, and texture of stand-up comedy in the 21st Century are in for a special treat, as Saginaw’s beautiful & historic Temple Theatre prepares to bring new Millennial comic Hannah Berner to their stage for a live performance on Thursday, February 29th at 8:00 PM.
For those unfamiliar with her work, Berner is a comedian, host, digital creator, and advocate who went viral over the Internet and became a famous TikTok star for her stand-up comedy, as well for directing, editing, and acting in videos on Instagram, and writing viral tweets.
Recently named by Variety magazine as one of the 10 Comics to watch for 2023, this Brooklyn-native has interviewed everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Kesha and Jennifer Lawrence, and is known for her two hit podcasts, Giggly Squad and Berning In Hell, which have over 25-million combined downloads; and she has also appeared in publications including The New York Times, Forbes, Elle Magazine, Entertainment Tonight and more.
If you take a look at her social media account you will be amazed at her multi-faceted personality and versatility. Whether it’s a funny spoof, her captions, or her random posts, Hannah has found a knack to entertain her million followers on Instagram almost daily with her creative ideas and content. She is deemed one of the popular influencers, usually sharing a glimpse of her lifestyle and passion on her Instagram page.
While it takes many comedians a long time to build deep relationships with audiences, her friendly nature, humor, and personality accomplished this feat very quickly. People love watching her videos and having fun with them by liking, commenting, and sharing them. She is also among the most trending personalities on TikTok, and apart from her humorous videos will also perform musical lip-syncs on TikTok.
Born in 1991 and with an estimated net worth to be $5-Million and rising, Berner is also set to record her first comedy special for Netflix. The hour-long special will be taped in Philadelphia at The Fillmore on March 23rd.
In advance of her appearance in the Great Lakes Bay Region, The REVIEW had an opportunity to exchange eight questions with Berner about her beginnings, her comedic sensibilities, and the rocket ride to popular acclaim that has been fueling sold-out performances across the country on her latest 2024 tour.
REVIEW: At what point did you realize you had a gift for humor and comedic reflection and decide to pursue this professionally through social media videos & outlets and also through stand-up comedy?
HANNAH BERNER: I think throughout my life, the only thing I have been able to control is laughter. Through ups and downs, my coping mechanism is definitely to try to not take life too seriously and make the people around me laugh.
I come from a very funny family but I never thought that you could make actual money just making people laugh. I've always been entrepreneurial and when I realized that I could have a career creating content, I never wanted to do a 9-5 ever again. Some people are great at them, but I was not.
REVIEW: Obviously, there are different styles of comedy, ranging from The Three Stooges variety of slapstick to gutter philosophers like Andrew Dice Clay and comics like George Carlin & Steven Wright, who employ circular logic where laws of physics bend to create new perspectives upon a particular topic. How would you define your own type or particular style of comedy?
BERNER: I pride myself on being my unique self on stage, whether it’s positive or negative, and I like doing observational comedy that has my perspective. I enjoy a little misdirection, raunchiness, and making people question societal norms.
I like to question a lot of traditions and standards we are accustomed to. Some people describe my comedy as feeling like you're in a female locker room. I think the girls love someone being honest about their experiences and the guys feel like they are hearing our secrets.
REVIEW: They say timing is everything in comedy, as well as life, so do you feel your talent is natural and intuitive, or did it take practice & experimentation in front of live audiences to hone your abilities?
BERNER: It's definitely a combination of both. I would not do standup if I didn't feel naturally comfortable performing in front of people and sharing my opinions out loud. Some people joke that public speaking is their biggest fear, but it's sometimes when I feel the most in control and level headed.
However, standup is an art form with a lot of variables that requires lots of time on stage and writing to learn how to navigate it and gain confidence night after night.
REVIEW: You are well-known for your success with comedy, but what about failure - have you ever ‘bombed’ in front of a live audience, or experienced an audience that you couldn’t connect with?
BERNER: I've definitely had tough gigs like performing before four people in a restaurant basement, or performing for a party of frat guys who are playing beer pong. All those difficult experiences have helped me become a better comedian because I learn how to handle adversity on stage. I think being comfortable with the uncomfortable is one of the biggest skills you can have.
REVIEW: In terms of your stand-up show, or any of your podcasts and ancillary projects, are there any topics that you feel are ‘off limits' when it comes to topical material for your comedy?
BERNER: Now that I've been yapping on a mic for a couple years now, I've learned which stories should be protected - whether it's about family, friends, or even strangers. I have learned to never make people laugh by just being mean and that celebrities are human too, even though it's easy to want to jump on the bandwagon.
REVIEW: As one who believes a huge component of successful comedy centers upon how well it helps us understand the insanity around us, what are three things about contemporary culture that drive you the most insane, or that you find disturbing?
BERNER: Wow, great questions. I love calling out gender roles, beauty standards, societal expectations and I do dabble in politics when I’m feeling naughty.
REVIEW: What do you feel is the biggest challenge involved with doing stand-up comedy professionally?
BERNER: The internet has given so many people opportunities to break into comedy without the traditional gatekeepers, but it does require a lot of standup comedians to not only perform on stage at night, but create video content during the day.
Most of us are not just doing standup, but also podcasting, video filming, editing, and marketing tickets in different ways. The job is a lot more than trying jokes on stage but I love the challenge. It's definitely never boring!
REVIEW: So your publicist tells me you just found out about your upcoming NETFLIX special. How does that make you feel?
BERNER: This is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. I’m in love with the hour that I’ve been touring for a while now, and I’m honored that Netflix wants to showcase my silly bits. I’m excited for my standup to reach a larger audience and to celebrate the community of bad ass women and scared boyfriends, mothers and zaddies that got me to this point.
Hannah Berner: I’m On Tour will be happening on Thursday, February 29th at 7:30 PM at Saginaw’s Temple Theatre, 201 N. Washington Ave. in Downtown Saginaw. Tickets start at only $35.00 and can be purchased online at www.templetheatre.com or by phoning The Temple Box Office at 877.754.7469.
9th February, 2024