Smooth like Butter: How Summer House's Hannah Berner became a stand-up

On CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, Berner discusses being a Bravolebrity; fostering animals, including her cat Butter; and the tough reality of being on a reality show.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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Patrick Holland
2 min read
Hannah Berner Summer House Bravo

Hannah Berner is a stand-up comic venturing out on her very first US tour.

Brendan Wixted

A quick internet search for Summer House star Hannah Berner yields headlines with words like villain, controversy, wrongdoings, feud and hypocrite. You can imagine my surprise when I interviewed Berner for CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and found her to be funny, down-to-earth, self-deprecating, intelligent and a bit of a dork. Berner is at a crossroads in her life. Leaving behind her Summer House-made character that captivated Bravo viewers for years, she's now happily engaged and ready to forgo her normal summer in the Hamptons as a Bravolebrity and hit the road as a stand-up comic touring the US. The name of Berner's comedy tour? House Broken.

"My comedy career has been very strange how it was created. Because I was writing a lot of tweets. I was writing a lot of memes. So it was kind of like joke writing for a while," Berner said during our interview. "Then I started my podcast Berning in Hell. It's kind of a mental health comedy podcast. Caroline's [on Broadway] reached out to me and said, we'd love for you to do a live podcast. And my friend was like, I dare you to do 10 minutes."

Unlike the awkward first open mic most comics experience, Berner said her first time doing stand-up went really well. Her set featured tweets she wrote and adapted into jokes. Her audience was packed with fans from her podcast, social media followers and, of course, people who watched Summer House. They ate it all up.

"Some of my stand-up friends, who I look up to, pulled me aside and they were like, 'Look, if you want to do this, you need to start getting on the grind. Because this is not what comedy is. Comedy is day after day bombing in basements. Even though this is fun, you need to commit. And if you want respect from other comics, you have got to start from the bottom,'" Berner said.

You can listen to my entire conversation with Berner in the podcast player above or on Apple Podcasts. She talks about the artistry behind a good fart joke, how her time as a professional tennis player helped her become a better stand-up, her cat Butter, and the awkward moment of sharing a first kiss with someone in front of the camera crew on a reality TV show.

You can find out more about her podcasts and stand-up tour on her website. And you can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.

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