Interview with Moshe Kasher, 'The Jay Z of Comedy'

Moshe Kasher


With his 2009 stand-up album Everyone You Know Is Going to Die, and Then You Are! and his 2012 memoir, Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16, Moshe Kasher has proven himself to be one of comedy’s wittiest and most caustic figures. Yet, there is also depth, smarts and heart to everything he does. While Kasher’s last stand-up tour featured his then-new wife, fellow comedian Natasha Leggero, as his co-headliner, Moshe is on his own heading into Punch Line Philly this week. Kasher spoke to us from the road via email.

A.D. Amorosi: The last time that you were on tour, you were on stage with your wife Natasha. Now you are not. Do you hate each other now? Have you done away with her?
Moshe Kasher: I hate neither my wife, nor does she hate me. I have simply forbidden her from interstate travel in a fun bit of long-form Handmaid's Tale cosplay. She is now Ofmoshe, and we love it that way.

A.D.: Did you like being in Philadelphia when you and Natasha were here?
Moshe: I love Philly. Often, on a sunny day in southern California, I will celebrate this love with a cheesesteak, listening to The Roots and running up staircases.

A.D.: So, what’s new and on your mind these days?
Moshe: I had a baby so that’s kind of interesting - to me only. Also the world exploded in a acid rain storm of political poison so there's kinda that too. Dad jokes, sex jokes, consent jokes- -and two stories. I think that’s everything.

A.D.: I re-read your Kasher in the Rye. It’s bracing stuff, and you wrote a great, unsentimental, but loving look at coming up with two deaf parents and being sort of an asshole and an addict before going sober. How do your parents know you are funny… do you sign for them?
Moshe: Well, yes I sign and joke around a lot with them in sign language. But, mostly my parents know I'm funny because I tell them over and over again and beg them to acknowledge that it's true. I'll let you know when and if that happens.

A.D.:  You got sober at 16, an age when some kids are just revving up. Was peer pressure ever an issue? What was the experience like?
Moshe: Getting sober young is a bizarre experience. You feel both younger and older than everyone else your age. You're a sober square so you have to try really hard to be cool. Then again, you never puke in your JNCO jeans at a rave, and there's nothing less cool than puke. I never really experienced any peer pressure because I was always firm, clear and DTPS (down to party sober). You wake up with less regrets that way. It feels unlikely I will ever sit before the senate and equivocate about what exactly it means to "black out." That’s always a bonus.

A.D.: Considering that you are someone who writes, are you writing out the jokes you tell in your stand-up act? What is your process?
Moshe: I am the Jay Z of comedy. Never written down a line. Never kept a notebook. It's all in my head for better or worse. I get an idea, walk on stage with it, and feel delighted when it works. 

A.D.:  In terms of stand up, when and how do you decide that a grouping of thoughts – connected or unconnected – is worth a shot at a solid hour of stand up?
Moshe: Well, clubs are fun for figuring that kind of thing out. The current set I have is a nice, loosely connected bunch of my newest stuff, along with some not seen stuff from before. It’s a solid hour when you don't feel desperate for the "wrap it up" light to come on. Plus, there's always the fun of crowd work. No two sets I do are ever exactly the same.

Moshe Kasher performs October 4 through 6 at Punch Line Philly, 33 E Laurel Street, Phila PA. For more info visit

Photo courtesy of 3 Arts Entertainment

Posted n Friday, October 5, 2018