Everyone You Know is Going To Die (And Then You Are…Unless You Die First) is a mouthful of a title for a debut album. And while it also references the least funny bit in his live show, it does hint at the absurdist approach of Moshe Kasher. His material is an intriguing combination of cerebral humor and crude imagery, but it’s his precision with language that sets him apart from the pack – he’s a great writer who’s also a talented performer.
I’ll admit up front that mixing studio cuts within a live performance (as done here) is a concept that usually doesn’t work well for me. When the live show is clicking – and this one is – the inserted bits usually break up the momentum of the show. These stand-up bits are all short and imaginative, and I think running them together followed by the set pieces would have made a stronger presentation, especially since the live show is relatively short (approximately twenty-five minutes). But that’s a small nit to pick.
His stage show is very funny, with good takes on familiar topics like religion and sex and great routines about the consequences of mistaking one French phrase for another, the myth of LA/SF turf wars, and how to possibly compliment the female privates. His material is lean and tight (nothing is longer than a minute or two) and Kasher is as expressive with his voice as he is with physical gestures. You lose very little by just hearing it on an audio CD.
As for the recorded monologues, “An Open Letter to Modesto, California” probably works the best because it’s an increasingly bitter and vulgar rant against some homophobic pinheads at a prior show that immediately follows two routines about gay-bashing. It’s also incredibly well-written, a slow volcano of seething anger and frustration heightened by subtle sound effects that are also very funny (the spit-take from the imaginary Yefet character – and Moshe’s subsequent exchange with him – is hilarious). It’s almost nine minutes long without one weak moment.
Two of the other studio monologues (“White Pube” and “Getting out of Speeding Tickets”) are funny enough, Kasher reciting twisted thoughts in his best NPR voice, but they’re not natural segues where they are placed within the live show. (“Speeding Tickets” sounds like a Jack Handey routine gone off the rails). A fourth piece (“Emails I Have Received”) wears thin after the first minute, but the concept was a good one.
I’d go see this guy in a heartbeat. And selfishly, as much as I enjoy the audio monologues, I’m hoping his next album contains a longer live performance.
Video: “Adventures in France”