The following is the second and concluding portion of our interview with Moshe Kasher. Part One is available here, but isn’t completely necessary to peruse. Just have fun with it, ya know? Yeah, you know. Shared words after the jump.
Courting Comedy: One thing that’s always perplexed me: why is Alex Koll’s shirt always off in the Boomtime pictures?
Moshe Kasher: [laughs] Well…
CC: (interrupting) And also, will [Boomtime] ever come back?
Kasher: We will probably do a reunion of Boomtime. And I can’t explain the shirtless thing because it would unravel the mystery of “What is Boomtime?”
CC: How long was the runtime of the [Boomtime] show?
Kasher: We had a couple different hour-long shows. We dealt with a lot of themes, we realized [later]. The themes we dealt with were death, homosexuality, nudity, and… I think that’s it.
CC: And what was your favorite project with Moshe Kasher and Alex Koll?
Kasher: Two things stick out in my mind; one was Perspectives. Unfortunately no one ever watched any of these videos. Perspectives, I thought, was a masterpiece… [it’s] a video about a transgenus person who thinks he’s a ram, who has always wanted to be ram. There’s another one, a live sketch that we do, that’s called “Busters”. It was a “horror” sketch and it was really scary and fucked up and weird. That was the best sketch we ever wrote.
CC: You have a lot of cool, interesting characters in your book Kasher in the Rye. Will your next book be, in the J.D. Salinger fashion, be a collection of nine stories of later exploits?
Kasher: Somebody said I should call my next book, “Faggy and Zooey"… I’m not modeling anything after Salinger, although I would love to just disappear into the woods. Honestly.
CC: You were big into the rave scene?
Kasher: I was.
CC: What genre of electric dance music best describes your stand-up? Would it be jungle or drum n bass or French House…
Kasher: French House is a pretty good one because it’s sexy and it’s silly at the same time. It doesn’t take it self too seriously. Maybe French House if you turned the BPMs way up; so French House meets Happy Hardcore, because I go really fast.
CC: What was the genre you were personally into.
Kasher: Oh, house music. I loved house music and I loved techno, like real, Detroit techno… Derrick May, techno music that black people made.
CC: Is it weird that techno is becoming so popular and mainstream as someone that was there when it was breaking in the 1990’s?
Kasher: It’s interesting because it seems that [while] everybody was always waiting for the big dance artist to hit, it never really happened. But what happened was a big mainstream artist took dance music and co-opted. I think that’s what happened. It’s disappointing in some ways but also you have these major artists now. It flipped back around [and] you have these huge artists like Justice and Skrillex. I think they’re very talented but it’s not my kind of music. It’s past my time.
CC: You’ve been to Burning Man many times.
Kasher: I’ve been to Burning Man a bunch.
CC: What do you get out of it?
Kasher: A lot of laughs. I laugh more there than I do in comedy. It’s a pretty silly place.
CC: Is it the charm of very little inhibitions or that people are there for a genuine reason?
Kasher: I think both. There’s lowered inhibitions and there’s a lot of sincerity too and there’s a lot of really inane silliness. I think all of that is fodder for my life and my comedy.
CC: It seems like that’s the next subculture to go mainstream.
Kasher: I think Burning Man’s days are numbered.
CC: Is it?
Kasher: That would be my guess, that in it’s current form it’s going to stop existing.
CC: Were you a fan of stand-up growing up?
Kasher: I was not a huge stand-up nerd in the classic way of ‘Oh, these are the stand-ups that I listened to growing up’. I did listen to stand-up, like everybody did. Eddie Murphy was probably my favorite, Adam Sandler’s albums, Andrew Dice Clay, but I wasn’t a huge “comedy guy”.
CC: At what point did you feel confident and proud of what you were doing on stage? At what year did you feel, ‘I might not be where I want to be financially or career wise but [stand-up] is working, and where I want to be’?
Kasher: Certainly 2009 was my breakout year… It was right before I broke through to the next-level, and I was thinking ‘Oh my god, I’m like the best comedian in the world’. But it was just because I was at the top of the level I was at. Then when I broke through to the next level I thought, ‘Oh no’. You know what I mean? I went from the top of that level to the bottom one of the next and I thought, ‘I gotta lot of work to do’.
CC: Does it feel weird, since you’re so well-versed at riffing, in the moment, and hypersensitive, is it weird going on to late-night television [experience] of ‘joke-response-joke-response’?
Kasher: It’s not my sweet spot, I would say, but you do what you got to do to try get your name out there. It’s not where I thrive; I think I thrive in a live performance, for sure, but also in a longer set. There are some comics that are built for [television], and I think i’m built to talk for a long time and that’s why I wrote a book.
CC: How many of your childhood friends would have been good stand-up comedians?
Kasher: A lot of the kids in Claremont would have been funny. A lot of the kids in my middle school would have been real funny. They’re the ones I learned how to riff with, for sure, because they made fun of me all the time. There are a lot of kids that are probably dead or in jail that should have been on stage instead.
[Vitus Pictures by Sam Ardrey, Boomtime by Unknown]