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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Bo's Effusive Tweets about Kate Berlant and Her Genius

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

On December 7th, 2018, New York Times comedy reporter Jason Zinoman tweeted about Kate Berlant and young comics imitating her style.


This one tweet led to Bo penning SEVEN separate replies about how brilliant she is, including calling Kate the "Millennial Lenny Bruce."


Lenny Bruce comes up again in The Inside Outtakes in The Podcast bit


Since Twitter is dying at the hands of Elon Musk and Bo could delete his Twitter account any day now (any day now...), I wanted to make sure these comments were saved for posterity purposes.


Here is the conversation in its entirety, spanning from 10:25 PM until 11:33 PM the next day, with Bo joining in at 3:50 AM (!).


Also, Kate's POOG podcast co-host Jacqueline Novak adds her thoughts, leading to Bo talking about Twitter being hell and posting a snowman emoji—"Crisis averted" haha



Enjoy!











Jason:


Either there are a ton of young comics doing Kate Berlant impressions now or Kate Berlant was just the first comic I saw doing Kate Berlant-like moves so it seems like I see imitators every time i go to a BK show when in fact Kate Berlant has been here since the dawn of time.


Bo:


It’s the former. I’ve slipped into stealing Kate’s vibes without trying. Most influential/imitated comedian of a generation. She figured and mastered the performance angle we were all looking for.


And she was doing the hyper self-aware deconstructive performative liberal stuff 5 years before that stuff was part of the popular culture. We are all playing match up to Kate. I’m being psychotic but she deserves the credit. Millennial Lenny Bruce or whatever I’m done goodbye.


“Catch up” not “match up” and “performative, liberal” not “performative liberal.” I hate writing about comedy, i don’t know how you do it, Jason.



Jason:


This all rings true. I would add that i see the influence in more than vibe. It’s as concrete as a certain delivery, kinds of line-readings, even posture. And yes, it’s true, writing about comedy is the hardest (and most noble) job in the world.




Jacqueline:


good news is to me kate does observational comedy without calling out the observation — instead of “ever noticed how assholes talk like this....” she just embodies something startlingly familiar. Anyone can mimic her discoveries but they can’t steal her eye or ear for them.


Bo:


100%. Totally inimitable. And observational, yes! Observational about the act of observing. Her act (for me) is an embodiment of what it means to attempt to live right now with any self-awareness. It’s not just satirical. It’s deeply TRUE.


She demonstrates out loud and in real time the amount of historical and personal and contextual processing we all have to do in order to express any idea at any point. And she makes it funny. Wowzers.



(P.s. I’m not trying to explain this to you like some asshole. This is just the weird twitter thing where u say stuff out loud just to say it for the other ppl reading. Just want this stuff to be written down for the record. Kate’s a genius and I’m pretentious✌️)


Jacqueline:



mnnn yes love it. agree on ‘observing observation’. i was indeed shrinking what kb does to the satirical just to make that one point about mimicry because i’ve been refining it on marco polo for weeks. i too am pretentious and saw my point’s big chance. the ego shirked nuance


Bo:


You weren’t shrinking! I was just restating your point about embodying the familiar as my own by adding more words. Twitter is hell and it stresses me out. ☃️


Jacqueline:


haha i’m thrilled to be in a sat night dialogue regarding kate and was only over explaining in response to myself. ur a peach!



Jason:


Twitter is the worst, but I could not have overheard two people making such thought-provoking points about KB at the party i just came from. So maybe not so bad. And Jacqueline, apologies if i steal “observational comedy without calling out the observation"


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