It had been 9 a.m. P.T., and Kate Berlant had already encountered a botulism moment. The comedian-writer-actor never visited bed after her flight from London landed at LAX at 3 that morning, so she had plenty of time before our talk with convince herself that the can of coconut milk she left in her fridge posed a threat to her health. I saw that it had been expired and used it anyway, she said. Its hours later, Im alive.
My brain was primed for a conversation about sealed food gone bad, since Id recently watched Berlant discuss itthis amount of time in character, on Abbi Jacobson and Will Grahams forthcoming adaptation of A League of these Own. Berlant plays sheltered Shirley Cohen, a Rockford Peach bunking with Jacobsons Carson Shaw. In another of the ultimate scenes of the growing season, Carson enters their room to get her roommate hovering over a table of cans. Ive been eating from dented cans, she says. I dont have botulism! Are you aware just what a miracle that’s, Carson?
Shirley fears what she will not know. When she realizes that Carsona married woman whose husband is away at warhas a relationship with another player on the team, Shirley is shocked and finally inspired to have a teaspoonful of God-knows-what and test if queerness is, as she believes, contagious. (Its not.)
Berlant, a skilled stand-up comic who recently released the beautifully chaotic sketch special WOULD IT NOT Kill One to Laugh? with comedy coconspirator John Early, has her biggest TV role yet in A League of these Own. Berlant talked with Vanity Fair over Zoom about playing the nervous Nellie of the Peaches, and the way the show digs in to the lives of the planet War IIera ballplayers with techniques the 1992 film didnt dare.
Vanity Fair: The show is incredibly physical. How did you plan filming? Had you played baseball before?
Kate Berlant: I had never played baseball beyond maybe swinging a bat or something. But we’d proper baseball training. Also it was just so fun to bond together. There definitely was a time period where I was learning how exactly to swing and its own trippy. Its only a world that when I werent associated with the show, I’d never be playing baseball or have a chance to discover ways to hit a ball.
Perhaps you have attended watch baseball since shooting?
We visited a Pirates game whenever we shot in Pittsburgh. That has been really fun. DArcy [Carden] threw out the initial pitch, also it was also the 1st time Id ever really tried White Claw. I really was excited about all of the free food because we got fancy box seats. I was overwhelmed by the quantity of free stuff. I believe I only had two White Claws but I finished up performing a handstand. I fell. But I was fine.
Youve said that youre a fan of the initial movie and youd watch it a whole lot growing up. I was so intrigued when I first learned that adaptation handles race and sexuality. What were your reactions once you got the scripts and were uncovering the story?
The film needless to say is indeed great, but its definitely a homogenized version of what it had been like for the ladies in the league and the ladies who were attempting to join the league. THEREFORE I was excited that was a far more nuanced portrait of this time.
With regards to filming, theres a huge amount of group scenes. That which was it like needing to shoot those?
We truly all love one another. I understand its a clich at this stage. I cant believe Im as an actress being like, it had been just so fun likely to work each day. But truly, this group was just so natural. It certainly did feel just like sleepaway camp. We were just a long way away from your home and in a city that none folks had spent enough time in.
You should know Im a POOG fan, and I was listening as you filmed in the summertime heat. It had been huge once you got the Nutribullet.
Oh, my God, many thanks to be a hag. I was impressed by the grade of the Nutribullet. I was like, it is a $100 blender thats operating at the amount of a more expensive one. I paid of pocket. Its this type of crime.