Awarded iTunes’ “Best New Comic of the Year” in 2009, Moshe Kasher is a self-proclaimed “Jewish comedian” on a mission to make his audience feel as awkward as he possibly can. Ithaca College’s Student Activities Board is bringing Kasher to campus Tuesday for a stand-up show, which Kasher says he hopes will make students cringe.
Staff Writer Alyssa Frey spoke with Kasher about his life as a comedian and his plans for the visit.
Alyssa Frey: What first inspired you to become a comedian?
Moshe Kasher: There was an empty void in the bottom of my soul — well, there’s an area in your body where your soul is supposed to go and I didn’t — there was nothing there for me. So I just thought maybe I would try filling it with different things. I tried filling it with malt liquor, and it didn’t help.
AF: What has been your most memorable experience so far as a professional in the world of comedy?
MK: I don’t have an alarm clock and I don’t have a boss. I get to play Xbox as long as I want, whenever I want — and that has been my favorite experience. I’m also writing a book right now, and I’m doing my childhood memoir, so that’s been pretty exciting. … It’s called “Kasher in the Rye,” and it’s just a story about my insane childhood.
AF: Many comedians put out albums today. What separates your album, “Everyone You Know Is Going To Die, and Then You Are,” from the rest on the market?
MK: Well, the boy genius that is doing the album is the main thing and separates it from the rest. If I was to be sincere, which I am very uncomfortable doing, what’s different about my album is that it’s kind of a concept album. I’m not just doing stand-up on it. I’m doing a mixture of live stand-up and studio recordings and short stories that I wrote and stuff like that. And it’s a concept album in which I am dead the whole time, which I don’t know if anyone has ever done before — recorded an album as a dead person. I think I’m the only one that did that.
AF: So you talk to listeners as if you were dead?
MK: The album starts with my supposed widowed wife telling everybody that the album is a series of the last known recordings of Moshe Kasher, the world’s most famous and influential comedian. That takes place in a far off abstract future where, theoretically, this is going to be the case. … She has released the album to pay off some of my old gambling debts. So throughout the whole album, there’s a bunch of different things and different recordings.
AF: Do you perform the same show when you tour or is each one different every time?
MK: It’ll be different every time. I like to talk to the crowd a lot and interact with the people.
AF: Why do you perform at colleges?
MK: Well, I’m really into young girls — no, I’m kidding. Colleges are fun because people are young, and you know, they’re hip. … [Jake Goldberg] saw me in a show in Los Angeles, a kind of cool, funky show — and asked me to come to Ithaca.
AF: What are some of the main subjects you like to talk about or improvise from during your comedian shows?
MK: Whatever things make students at Ithaca the most uncomfortable when made fun of — those are my main, go-to topics. … So just in case any students thought they were going to come and not be offended, they should know in advance that I’m going to try to offend them.
AF: What jokes do you typically pull out when your audience is unresponsive or not enthusiastic about your show?
MK: I can’t, unfortunately, answer that question because, my jokes, I’ve never had a crowd be nonresponsive. I’ve only ever crushed and made like, hard core, super perfect ones — I’ve never had anything go bad. Ever.
AF: What has been the most difficult aspect of being a professional comedian while constantly on tour?
MK: Crushing loneliness. Basically what I’m saying is that if there are any grad students or really mature seniors or freshmen who can keep a secret, I need someone. You can come up to me at the show at Ithaca College and just wink at me and put your index finger on your nose, and I’ll know that you read the article and that you’re there for me and then we can share a really special moment.
If you Go: “Moshe Kasher”
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: IC Square
How much: Free