“Bridesmaids” actress Kali Hawk says she was taken by surprise by the instantaneous success of her hilarious “Black and Jewish” video with “Vampire Diaries’” Katerina Graham this past summer. “It got a hundred thousand views the first hour it was up on FunnyorDie. I think a lot of people responded to it for reasons we didn’t expect, and there are a lot more people of this mixed ancestry than we realized,” she says.
The hit, a takeoff on “Black and Yellow” came naturally to Hawk, whose roots are African American, Native American and German Jewish. “It was a pleasant surprise. I got to bring out my Yiddish, go on radio stations and perform Yiddish rap. My grandmother always spoke Yiddish in the house, which had this great Jewish vibe omnipresent, but I didn’t even realize it. I didn’t know these words, like, ‘Move your tookis,’ weren’t spoken everywhere.”
The internet was a vital force early on in her career, too — in a whole different way. She was working on her music career in New York City, and, impatient with a slow spell, decided to try acting one day because she couldn’t stand inactivity. She found a casting ad on Craig’s List, answered it and wound up landing a part in Todd Bridges’ 2004 movie, “Issues.” Craig’s List! Her Craig’s List movie also brought her to Hollywood, and “before too long, I was thinking, ‘I can do this,’” she recalls. Of course, her background as a drama major at SUNY Purchase (before she was 16) didn’t hurt.
Now, Hawk has the indie comedy “Let Go” with Ed Asner and David Denman on the festival circuit. She recently wrapped work on Tyler Perry’s “We The Peeples” with Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson. And, come Dec. 2, she’ll be seen starring opposite Dane Cook, Julie Benz, Elizabeth Mitchell, Zach Gilford and Barbara Hershey in the thriller “Answers to Nothing.”
“It’s really different for me — a drama after doing comedy after comedy. My character is a writer who’s struggling with some deeper issues,” she says. “The stories are intertwined. It’s a lot like life; it’s never who you think it’s going to be that gives you the lightbulb of truth. It’s part of the magic of people, how each person is kind of a mirror of us, our outlook and our perspective on things.”