You know him from the internet, his standup comedy and his character “Pig Bottom” on Tubbin’ with Tash on YouTube. He doesn’t shy away from mainstream screens either; Moshe Kasher has also been featured on Chelsea Lately, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Conan. He is also a writer for the sitcom The New Normal and author of memoir Kasher in the Rye (which is reviewed by William Kennedy in EW’s April 17 issue).
Over web correspondence from some college town on the East Coast, Kasher shares what he anticipates Eugene will be like and recounts his experience at The Rainbow Gathering, while also thwarting the dreams of aspiring comics. Kasher performs at 8 pm Thursday, April 17, at WOW Hall.
You have been traveling a lot recently. How do regular venues compare with college town venues?
Colleges are unique in that the audiences tend toward the Pollyanna optimism of youth. In a comedy club, the patrons are old, calloused and, not just pessimistic, but actually accurately assessing the shattered pieces of their lives as evidence of failure. In rock clubs and theatres, the audiences are trying to create that failure by design because it seems cool to deliberately fail rather than to try hard to succeed and not be able to do that. But in COLLEGE I have the unique opportunity to address an audience that has not yet failed and explain to them exactly how that failure is going to occur in the years to come. It’s a great privilege and not one that I take lightly.
What do you like to do in new towns?
My engagement with the town HEAVILY depends on the town. When I come to Eugene, I imagine I will climb an old growth pine tree and forage for acorns. If I go to San Francisco I will raise rents and invent an app. In Boston I might do something racist. It all depends on the city.
What are some of the weirder places you have performed?
I performed at The Rainbow Gathering, which I could explain but I’m under the impression that every citizen of Eugene is required by law to know, by heart, the by-laws of the gathering? For those of you driving in for the show or who have just moved to Eugene, it’s a free, DIY hippie fest. Think Burning Man but without all the hygienic strictures. I performed on top of a mountain in a “gong show” theme night taking place in a hand built, driftwood theatre. The moment I even set up a joke about Jerry Garcia, I was gonged out of the place. Which is not how the gong show is supposed to work, man. The gong is not a censorship device, man. It’s the voice of the people!
Eugene has a high comic-to-small-town-population ratio with a good number of open mics and comedy spots. What advice would you give to the local aspiring comics?
I would say quit and never try stand up again. Have kids. Go on vacations. Love yourself.
You tell jokes about everything, sometimes offending people. Any memorable after-the-show crowd comments or hate mail?
Nope, everybody appreciates me and what I do 100 percent of the time.
Who were some of the comedians that made you interested in standup? Who makes you laugh now?
The only comedian who has ever meant anything to me was Elvira.
Favorite U.S. president?
My favorite U.S. president was Old Hickory but is now New Mahogany.
The UO Cultural Forum brings Moshe Kasher to WOW Hall at 8 pm Thursday, April 17; $8 adv., $10 door for students; $15 general admission. Gina Ginsberg is a local standup comedian; this is her first time writing for Eugene Weekly. You can follow her on twitter @GinaGinsberg.