Kim Berns: The Funniest Person in the Room
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Kim Berns is that person at a party who dazzles guests with rapid-fire wit, commands the dance floor with breakout moves, and knows every word to every song on the deejay’s playlist. The stand-up comic’s dry humor electrifies audiences, from Manhattan to The Rye Arts Center’s Ladies Comedy Night and The Undies Project benefit show in Connecticut.
“I feel lucky to have these important and ridiculous jobs,” said Kim, “and nothing loosens wallets like a good laugh.”
It’s no surprise that Kim, who grew up outside of Chicago, was an “outrageously exuberant child” who participated in every talent show. “I was usually the funniest person in the room, much to the horror of my parents,” she remarked.
Nevertheless, comedy was not a path the journalism major envisioned. In Washington D.C., she established herself as a lobbyist for MCI Communications and later a sought-after interior designer, two careers she doesn’t see as all that different. After all, she noted, “Both jobs require mental maneuvering, figuring out what people need while making it look like it’s their idea.”
Upon moving to Rye 12 years ago, she brought Kim Berns Design with her. The Feng Shui expert recently completed homes in Scarsdale and Cape Cod. It was a home theater she designed on Hannan Place, however, along with a three-day getaway to Las Vegas with husband Mitch, that launched her as a comic.
“I had an epiphany,” recalled Kim, who wrote an act around the Vegas comedy-of-errors-ridden escapade and invited 40 women to the said home theater. The evening was so successful, she headed to “the bowels of New York City” to hone her craft, taking classes and attending open mic nights.
“It was not only exciting for me, but so far removed from anything I had done,” she said.
“Everything’s about the rhythm of the word, about turning a phrase.”
When she is not writing or performing, you’ll find her hosting The Rye Record podcast “What’s the Story with Kim Berns”, a natural progression to a radio broadcasting stint. She’s also raising three children: Max whom she just dropped off at college, and twins Blake and Henry, 11, now at Rye Neck Middle School.
“Short of sleet and locust plagues, I don’t have to drive anyone to school again,” quipped Kim.
In New York City, you can catch Kim Berns at the Comic Strip on September 8 and the Broadway Comedy Club on September 11. Locally, she’s performing at Wellington’s in Harrison on September 13, emceeing The Undies Project in Riverside, Conn. on September 28 (theundiesproject.org for tickets,) and producing The Rye Arts Center’s Ladies Comedy Night (ryeartscenter.org) on November 7.