Meredith Vieira Called a "Comedic Genius" by Co-Stars John Early and Kate Berlant

You can add iconic comedic actress to the list of Meredith Vieira's credentials—just ask her new co-stars. In a chat with E! News, see what John Early and Kate Berlant said about working with her.

By Daniel Trainor Jun 24, 2022 2:00 PMTags
Watch: John Early & Kate Berlant Dish on HILARIOUS New Special

Meredith Vieira, alternative comedy icon?

The legendary journalist and talk show host has been dubbed a "comedic genius" by John Early and Kate Berlant, whose sketch special Would It Kill You To Laugh? premiered June 24 on Peacock. 

In the special, Meredith plays herself as host of the fictional show P.O.V. (Point of Vieira) as she interviews John and Kate as former stars of beloved sitcom He's Gay, She's Half-Jewish, who are reuniting for the first time in nearly 20 years after a bitter feud tore them apart.  

Meredith nails the assignment—but don't take our word for it. 

"She's amazing," Kate told E! News. "We were so lucky to get her. We couldn't believe she wanted to do it."

John agreed, saying she understood exactly how to handle the emotional beats of the sketch. "She just really, really knew how to strike the balance of when to be super serious and when to play along," he told E!. "We were stunned by her. She was so kind and cool."

2022 TV Premiere Dates

John and Kate flew to 30 Rock in New York City to film the sketch with Meredith—and the pressure was on.

"We were there at, like, 4 in the morning," John said. "It was the first thing we shot, too. This has been a very meaningful opportunity for us, so we were very nervous. She was immediately such a pro. She was like, ‘My kids love you guys.' Her kids told her to do it. We were shocked that we got her. She was in this tier of anchors where we were like, ‘She'll never say yes.'"

Luckily for all of us, she did.

Later, in the final sketch of the special, John and Kate play the same characters, reunited in their old age. As the two dine in a restaurant, they are desperate for the waitstaff to acknowledge them for the celebrities that they are.

It turns out, it's a sketch that was born from a real life experience.

"We were at a restaurant in New York when Kate was visiting me last summer," John said, "and, it's not that our waiter was doing anything wrong, we were just trying to detect if he was a fan. Every time he went away from the table, we were dissecting it."

While the real-life John and Kate don't remember if the waiter ever gifted them anything, the fictional John and Kate end up with a free banana split.


In a comedy world where TikTok and Instagram have become king, John and Kate hope Would It Kill You To Laugh? provides a nostalgic alternative. It's an hour-long special that demands attention, patience and an appreciation for nuance. 

John argued that social media comedy content shouldn't necessarily be written off due to runtime, but rather, because it's often just not very good.

"It's not because of the length, it's because it's garbage," John said. "It's soulless. I'm not even talking about comedians, I'm talking about content. I'd like to think we give people something more soulful and that it's worth the time."

Would It Kill You To Laugh? is available to stream on Peacock.

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