Moshe Kasher’s releasing a new comedy album in January, but it’s not your typical stand-up set. Crowd Surfing consists entirely of crowd work, as Kasher interacts with the live audience that came to see him perform in Washington D.C. this night. It’s something that Kasher is really good at. And I can vouch from personal experience—at a show in Montreal a few years ago he singled out my wife and I and engaged in some chatter that was hilarious but more thoughtful than most crowd work we’ve been roped into (uh, we kinda stand out in a crowd). The prospect of a full album of nothing but him riffing on his audience should be exciting for any Kasher fan.
Crowd Surfing will be released by Comedy Dynamics on Jan. 24. You can hear the track “D.J.’s Mom” today, though: just click here. And here’s a link for preorders.
Why crowd work, though? Isn’t that old-fashioned schtick? Again, when done right, it can be hilarious. And Kasher is better at it than almost anybody else I’ve ever seen. (Todd Barry probably gets the slight edge here. Sorry, Moshe!) I try not to quote press releases at length, but the one for Crowd Surfing gets to the heart of why this kind of comedy can work when done well, so let’s take a gander at what it has to say, okay?
Often maligned as a lazy move, or something designed to kill time during a set, crowd work is not acknowledged as the elemental part of the stand up art form that it is. Or, perhaps that’s because many have only been exposed to hacky or lazy crowd work. To see a master at work is, as Moshe claims in his new album, Crowd Surfing, akin to seeing a jazz great go off the page and do a solo. So it is in the spirit of some of his fellow crowd work masters, such as Patrice O’Neal, Paula Poundstone, Todd Barry, and Don Rickles, that Moshe brings his razor sharp quick wit to this fully crowd-work driven album that functions like a semi-concept album – going beyond the ‘Who are you and what do you do for a living” trope and into the wildest stories this Washington D.C. crowd had to offer. It gets weird.
Extending that jazz metaphor, if Todd Barry is the Ornette Coleman of crowd work, than Kasher is the Albert Ayler—more soulful, more passionate, more ecstatic. Or something. I just wanted to reference Albert Ayler. Cut me some slack, here, I’m no Nat Hentoff.
And hey, let’s give you the full tracklist, too. Why not.
1. The Crowd Work Album
2. DJ’s Mom
3. Break Me Off A Lil’ Sumthin
4. A Nice Man From Appleton
5. TJ The Coolest Sounding Dude
6. Touching A Giraffe On Molly
7. Regional Burning Man
8. I’m Not Talkin’ The Cheek!
9. Beer Bongin’ Colt 45s
10. The Wedding Night You’ve Always Dreamed Of
11. Make It Weirder