Where They Are Now

From Yale to Odd Mom Out

An alumna takes on NYC’s Upper East Side, one joke at a time.

Pamela Berkovich

Pamela Berkovich

Jill Kargman ’95, who writes and stars in her own comedy show on Bravo, chose Yale partly because the marching band was a “ragtag mess.” View full image

Wildly witty Jill Kargman ’95 created, writes, and stars in Odd Mom Out, Bravo’s first half-hour scripted comedy. It’s based on Momzillas, one of her 11 books to date, many skewering her native land—Manhattan’s wealthy Upper East Side. In Odd Mom Out, Kargman, a 40-something Upper East Side mother of three, plays a 40-something mother of three, whose daily life is largely defined by what passes for normal on the Upper East Side, like stress around private school admissions and competitive socializing for charity. And just because it has to be said: Kargman’s father was the head of Chanel and her sister-in-law is Drew Barrymore.

Y: Yale because...?

K: I felt very connected because of the diversity. I had been in an Aryan nation at my boarding school. It was the Two-Jew Club up there. Now it’s changed a lot. But I just remember going to the Harvard-Yale game: the Harvard band was so perfect, and the Yale band came out and they were this ragtag mess, and I was obsessed with them.

Y: So why did you graduate in three years?

K: I felt like I was treading water. I was so used to boarding school that I decided to just take six classes first semester and thought I would drop one. I ended up doing twelve a year, and my dean said, “If you keep this up, you can save your parents a bunch of money.” My mom actually graduated Mount Holyoke in two years, but she’s French.

Y: So that’s how it works! What did you do with your “free year”?

K: I hadn’t seen most of the world, so I was just alone in Europe, backpacking. I found all these little remote churches and paintings I had written papers about, and it was kind of like meeting old friends.

Y: And then you landed at the magazine Interview. How was the job?

K: It sucked. Those were miserable years for me. I was put in charge of the interns. I always have a big mouth, but when I have a muzzle on it, I can kind of internalize it and take notes mentally.

Y: You must have. Your first movie was called Intern.

K: It got made, but I didn’t really like it.

Y: Then came a bunch of other scripts, and best-selling novels like The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, and an essay collection, Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut.

K: “Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut” was also the title of my essay that I wrote to get into Yale, about being a little crazy in high school and doing things outside the box, and why humor is so important in my family.

Y: And how did you get to Odd Mom Out?

K: I started freelancing at [the ad agency] Ogilvy, writing maxi-pad commercials and such.

Y: An obvious career move.

K: I wouldn’t say I was scratching the creative itch, but I really enjoyed being in a nice building with big elevators and going to lunch in the cafeteria. After being a stay-at-home mom quickly writing books on the side, this was a nice break. And that’s where things started with my show.

Y: I read that two fellow agency workers videotaped your idea for a pilot.

K: It was going to be a late-night type of show that was on in the morning, called Wake the Fuck Up! 

Y: A bit more edgy than the usual morning show, I guess.

K: It wasn’t smugs with mugs. It started with a sleep mask that says, “Fuck off!” Then I woke up with ratty hair and I opened the door and said, “It’s fucking freezing!” They did a whole cute title sequence with a pot of coffee with an IV drip and sent it to some networks. And Bravo said they wanted to meet.

Y: And the rest is Odd Mom Out. How does working on it compare with writing all those books?

K: It’s so much more fun for me. I really like the gratification of everyone laughing right away. 


  • Dina-Nicki
    Dina-Nicki , 1:54pm January 25 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I love everything about Jill Kargman! Intelligent, beautiful and wildly funny - she inspires me so. Thank you.

  • Janet Noble
    Janet Noble, 4:04pm January 26 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I LOVE this show! Can't get enough! Jill your my Boo!

  • d.w.
    d.w., 4:27pm January 28 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Jill Kargman is a NATIONAL Treasure in my book. She is so witty and funny and her show ODD MOM OUT is brilliant and so fun to watch! Yale you were lucky to have Jill attend your school! Jill is my Hero!

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