Please explain what just happened.

I debated between masturbating or filling out this questionnaire.  I won’t tell you which one won.

What is your earliest memory?

This isn’t the earliest one, but it makes me smile in hindsight.  I must have been eight.  I had a nightmare in which bombs rained down upon my suburban neighborhood.  I awoke and prayed to God, that if he prevented the dream from coming true that as an adult I would become a rabbi. I just like the idea that I was bartering with God and thought that being a rabbi would surely win him over.  For the record, I have yet to keep my end of the bargain.

If you weren’t a comedy writer, what other profession would you choose?

If I could be guaranteed that I’d never have to deal with a suicidal patient, I’d love to be a psychologist.  It would be the perfect way to finally see just how fucked up everybody else is. Of course, I wouldn’t say that in my psych school application.


Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

There are a lot of mostly empty containers that I can’t bear to part with.  They are perhaps my security peanut butter jars.

What verb best describes you?


What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

Enjoy next year’s football season.  It’s going to be the last good one for a long time.

What are the steps you take to regain your composure?

1. Blame myself. 2. Decide it was probably someone else’s fault. 3. Find someone else to blame.

Define “success.”

A day that ends with pajamas.

From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

Wow, these questions in the middle suddenly got serious, huh? I guess I would say I have different inspirations for different elements of my life. Comedy: Ernie Kovacs, The Marx Brothers, early David Letterman, Mel Brooks, and Bob Newhart. Soul: My family and my friends… especially those random friends who suddenly show themselves to be much more than I ever suspected.  Apparently comedy and soul are the only two aspects of my life.  That seems about right.

What change do you want to be in the world?

I would be happy if I made people feel like it was okay to be themselves.

Are you pro- or anti-emoticon? Please explain.

I’m definitely anti, but only because they’re retarded.

How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

Not to brag, but I’m actually one degree away from him.

What makes you feel most guilty?

Not living up to what I believe my potential to be.

Please list three things you never leave home without.

Glasses, cell phone, wallet.

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

It’ll pass.

What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

It’ll pass.

What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

When someone who loves me doesn’t pay attention to me 100% of the time.

Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?

Classic Concentration, because we had the Commodore 64 home version, and I’d love to see if it properly prepared me.


What do you want to know?

I think we all suspect that there’s some piece of information we haven’t been given about life.  So much of our existence makes sense, that we’re lead to believe that all of it must make sense, but then it doesn’t make any sense at all.  I just want to know what the deal is.  Are we being fucked with? Seriously, I’m fine with that. Just let me know, so I can spend less time in therapy.

What would you like your Last Words to be?

“I can’t believe it, I’m dying of natural causes!”

Please explain what will happen.

I’m pretty sure I’ll take a nap.

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ETHAN T. BERLIN is an Emmy-award nominated comedy writer who has written for Sacha Baron Cohen, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, Dave Attel, Michael Ian Black, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Will Arnett, and many other of today's top comedic performers. His writing has appeared on countless networks from HBO to Comedy Central. He has sold animated television pilots to MTV and Cartoon Network. He co-founded the website,, which was featured in Chelsea Handler’s New York Times bestselling book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and on G4’s Attack of the Show. His daily web cartoon, Murray The Nut, receives upwards of 100,000 hits a month. In addition to writing, Ethan has performed in numerous comedic roles on the USA Network, Comedy Central, Fox, and MTV.

8 responses to “21 Questions with Ethan T. Berlin”

  1. Kimberly says:

    So great to have you with us, Ethan!

    Out of curiosity, what *would* you say in your psych application?

  2. Megan DiLullo says:

    I second Kimberly. It’s good to have you meandering through these halls and bargaining with god.

    You’re a very funny fellow. I dig your cranium.

  3. Bert says:

    I guess what they say about insanity being inherited is true. I was perfectly sane until the day you were born.

  4. Rob Bloom says:

    Welcome to The Nervous Breakdown, Ethan. I also had the Commodore version of “Classic Concentration.” Oddly enough the “host” in the game was more lifelike than Alex Trebek. Again, welcome!

  5. “1. Blame myself. 2. Decide it was probably someone else’s fault. 3. Find someone else to blame.”

    You, sir, are my new God.

    Welcome aboard, Lord!

  6. I’m glad you chose to post this instead of jerking off.

  7. Zara Potts says:

    I like your answer to the composure question.
    It is very close to the CIA 3 step programme of:
    1) Admit nothing.
    2) Deny everything.
    3) Make counter allegations IMMEDIATELY.
    Trust me. It works.
    Welcome aboard!

  8. stand up comedians…

    […]Ethan T. Berlin | 21 Questions with Ethan T. Berlin | The Nervous Breakdown[…]…

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