In the quickly-evolving world of comedy, Hannah Berner has emerged as a hilariously refreshing and authentic voice, giving her audience relatable humor and a magnetic stage presence. We’ve been caught numerous times going down her Instagram rabbit hole at The House, so we felt super lucky when we received the opportunity to learn more about her journey for this December cover story. Berner generously chatted about her start in comedy and life, her challenges, and what gives her the most joy as she finds new ways to make people laugh.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Berner’s comedic career path stemmed from a family that exuded humor. “I honestly got my start from being from a funny family,” she shared. “The best part of my childhood was being goofy and joking and finding the funny in any situation, especially the difficult ones.”
A former tennis player navigating the post-college maze, Berner’s professional evolution saw her in a few different roles before centering her world around laughter. She was cold calling sales and held fashion internships until a pivotal moment came when she decided to venture into the world of video. “It takes a lot for a woman to decide that she wants to be seen and heard and take up space,” she said about developing her own platform. “I knew deep down I was a creative person, and I wanted to find a way to make a living entertaining people. I started creating funny sketches and posting them online, and I knew I found what I loved to do.”
Currently on her stand-up comedy tour, Berner shared a dose of reality when it comes to being on the road. “You know I will always keep it real, and being a ‘road dog’ is not glamorous,” she said. “It’s a lot of very early morning flights and napping in hotels and writing jokes on napkins, but it’s all worth it for that hour that I get to be on stage.”
The tour’s highlights have offered some memorable moments for Berner, from seeing her name in Times Square after selling out four shows at the Palladium in NYC to being surprised by Emily Ratakjowski at a show, the journey is sprinkled with moments of surreal acknowledgment. Performing at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Berner noticed the sheer number of women in the audience, signaling a shift in the perception of comedy as a safe space for women.
“The best highlights are the moments when I’m tired, and the moment I walk on stage and feel the energy of the crowd, it makes it all worth it,” she shares, underlining the unique connection she shares with her audience. “I joke that a lot of the people who like my humor have anxiety like me, so the fact that they left their comfortable couches to see my live show means the world.”
Her relatability extends beyond the stage, permeating her online presence through TikTok, Instagram, and podcasts. When we asked her about challenges, Berner admits, “When I’m on the road going from car to plane to hotel to stage on repeat, sometimes I don’t feel as inspired.” However, her creativity finds its sweet spot in the simple joy of banter with friends. “I am most creative when I’m just talking with friends and we are making fun of our existence. I know something is funny when I can make my friends laugh.”
Her philosophy on joke writing reflects a patient, organic approach. “The annoying thing about joke writing is you can’t force it,” she quips. “Whenever I try too hard to write a joke, it’s never as good as something that comes naturally, so you have to be patient and write down anything you think has potential. I like to say, don’t force jokes, relationships, or poops.”
Hannah’s fearless approach to tackling taboo on stage is rooted in a genuine desire to make people see things differently. “I like to talk about controversial topics on stage because I like to make people see different perspectives,” she shared. “I talk about abortion and gun laws, and I think I’m most comfortable talking about these topics in a joke form,” she explains. “At the end of the bit, people are laughing, but I also was able to get my point across. I like to bring light to taboo around mental health or hard experiences of being a woman because it makes people feel less alone.”
The potential for backlash or negative responses on any of her platforms is a reality, but Berner approaches it with a focus on the core purpose of comedy – to have fun. “Most people understand that the purpose of the post was to make people laugh,” she says. “I never post anything that is just mean or for shock value because that can really hurt people’s feelings. Even in my crowd work, I like the person to feel like they are in on the joke with me, and it’s never an attack. The point of comedy is to have fun.”
Berner’s podcasting endeavors, “Berner Phone” and “Giggly Squad,” unfold as the perfect combination of humor and camaraderie. Co-hosting with her best friend Paige DeSorbo and husband Des Bishop, the podcasts have become platforms for intimate conversations and shared laughter.
“I guess talking is my love language, so it kind of makes sense that my two podcasts are with my two favorite people,” she muses. Paige DeSorbo, her hilarious best friend, brings a unique dynamic to “Giggly Squad,” creating a community of “Gigglers” who share in the joy of their humor. Des Bishop, her husband and a fellow comedian, brings a different flavor to their podcasting collaboration.
“My favorite conversations with Paige normally involve imitating our Italian moms or when we pick a guy’s name and riff about what kind of guy we think he is,” Hannah shares, highlighting the spontaneous and authentic nature of their interactions. With Des, the podcasts head into inappropriate topics, creating moments of comedic synergy that transcend personal boundaries.
“Giggly Squad” emerged as an Instagram live during the challenging times of the pandemic. “Every day for 3 months, we went live at 10 pm for an hour, and it truly got us through some of the darkest times,” Hannah reflects. The contrasting styles of Paige and Hannah resonate with a diverse audience. “Paige is very stylish and girly, and I’m sporty and disheveled, and I think people identify with different parts of us.”
A defining career moment came when Berner was named one of Variety’s top 10 comics to watch in 2023. “It was cool for me because I never imagined the industry giving me this kind of approval. It was a surprise and gave me confidence to feel like I am really doing what I’m meant to do. I didn’t grow up watching too many stand ups who were women so I hope that I can inspire the future generation of funny women to share their voice and perspective! People want to hear it!”
For Hannah, the essence of being a comedian lies in having an unfiltered voice. “I feel like I have the mouthpiece to say things that people may feel too scared or embarrassed to say, and if that makes one person feel better about themselves, I did my job.”
As for the future, Hannah dreams of acting in a TV show or movie. “I’m manifesting (and hiring an acting coach),” she quips. Beyond the current stand-up tour, the ever-evolving landscape of technology and the industry keeps her future goals broad.
In the world of Hannah Berner, laughter isn’t just a byproduct. It’s a profound connector, a source of empowerment, and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
Photographer: Jana Schuessler | @janaschuessler
Makeup: Amanda Thesen for Exclusive Artists using Viseart Paris | @amandathesenbeauty
Hair Styling: Sky Kim | @sky.kxm
Styling: Zoe Gofman | @zoegofman
Video: Luisa Sillmann | @luisasillmann
Photo Assistant: Hannah Leitsch | @haley_shot_it
PR : Align PR | @Alignpr