Interview: Moshe Kasher
In preview of his uncomfortably funny 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, stand up comedian Moshe Kasher, who has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Chelsea Lately, gave us a survival guide for the worst case adolescent scenarios from his life. Reader discretion is highly advised. —Alyssa Jaffer
Scenario: As a kid, you were left out by the cool kids.
Moshe’s method: Show up to a birthday party uninvited and leave only after the birthday boy cusses you out.
In retrospect: “Well, of course, the great irony of cool is that the cool kids in middle and high school become the very uncool kids later in life,” says Kasher. “It’s the weirdoes and losers who have been taking notes for years on how to act that eventually pop out the other end of the social tunnel as artists, dynamos, and intriguing people. So, hold on… a day of reckoning is coming to those cool kids in the form of boring loveless marriages, fifty extra pounds, and too many children named ‘Cody’ and ‘Brittany’.”
Scenario: Your mind goes into a “people suck” spiral.
Moshe’s method: Start smoking in middle school.
The take-away: “The main thing to remember here is that people do suck. There is little you can do about this. All the assholes you have ever met have been people. They are the worst. However, you are people too. And you can do a lot to ensure you don’t suck. Be nice. Have fun. Learn Stuff. Love people. Don’t steal. Don’t troll on the Internet. Read a book. Watch Star Trek. Kiss your mom. Have a kid. Don’t have a kid. Do it all. Just don’t suck. Because the truth is, the less you suck, the less the people around you will seem to suck too.”
Scenario: Your Bar Mitzvah has a Holocaust theme.
Moshe’s method: Sit awkwardly in the chair of honor, smile unenthusiastically, and wish Snoop Dogg were performing instead of Mordechai Ben David.
Looking back: “Make the best of it! Do a two-step to a German waltz. Kill a Nazi or two. That’s how you really become a man anyway.”
Scenario: You walk into therapy, and after a series of drug-related questions, you are on your way to a psychiatric hospital.
Moshe’s method: Sarcasm, cuss words, and prescription drugs.
In retrospect: “Whatever you do, do not tell them about the voices. They will not understand.”
Scenario: You get caught stealing a bottle of Bailey’s from Safeway…at the age of 15.
Moshe’s method: Feel sorry for yourself while the cop releases you into your grandmother’s custody.
In the future: “Try to explain to the authorities that you were simply doing the bidding of a group of underage, gay leprechauns. They were having a party and needed booze and tricked you into getting them the bottle. It’s magic. What were you supposed to do?”
Kasher will perform on April 28 at the Mission Theater and read on April 29 at Powell’s.
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