Comedian Lane Moore could have easily turned her live-swiping Tinder show into a cruel mockery of unsuspecting men, like an improvised burn book for online daters. But Moore, who also acts (Girls), writes (The Onion, Cosmopolitan), and plays in a band (It Was Romance), decided to be more creative about her approach to laughing at the often absurd world of dating apps. Amplify caught up with Moore to discuss her surprisingly tender show, its educational value, and where its swiping next.
“The thing I always tell people who haven’t been to this show before is that it is a shockingly good-natured, kind show,” Moore said. “I don’t go after people’s physical appearance. I don’t punch down at all. I’m really careful about that. There’s so much else that is funny.”
Since its inception at the end of 2013, each Tinder Live event begins with Moore going through her “Tinder Shout Outs” of the week, bringing up on a screen the most interesting profiles she has scrolled through on her own time and saved for the audience. Then she’ll ask for audience participation trying to figure out who, in a photo with more than one person, the profile belongs to.
Afterwards, she’ll get to the meat of the performance, live-swiping on Tinder based entirely on the audience’s approval.
“In the end the audience votes whether I swipe left or right. It’s in their hands,” Moore explained. “I make a joke on stage that after the show I have to sleep with everyone they make me swipe right for.”
“Everybody cheers and gets so psyched” when a match comes through while she’s on stage she explained, adding “then I have to think of what is the best opening line. I’ll just say weird things and my character on stage is a little bit nuts.”
“The other night I did a show in Brooklyn at The Bell House (Tinder Live has a monthly residency) and I was saying all these weird things to this guy, but he kept being really nice and I immediately told the audience, We have to throw him back into the sea kindly.” She admits that genuinely nice guys don’t make the best fodder for the show. “So I wrote him back, You’re a beautiful person. Never change. You’re such an incredible dude.”
With the abundance of people using the location-based hook up app, Moore says she never runs across the same profile twice, making every performance of Tinder Live entirely unique and improvised. She also encourages the audience to shut off their use of the app if they don’t want to appear on the screen for a “gentle roasting.”
“I always tell people that if someone comes up on the screen and it is you or someone you know or someone you’ve dated, I want to hear that story,” Moore said. “Not necessarily to rag on the person, but sometimes if the person’s profile was really goofy they’ll tell me, ‘Oh he’s an incredible person’ and I’ll curve it.”
Moore is very conscious of keeping the show from being mean-spirited and avoids making fun of people’s appearance. Instead she directs her audience’s attention to the more ludicrous aspects of men’s profiles.
For example, Moore described a recent profile she came across of a man’s profile that read he loved dancing and featured a photo of him in a suit holding a full glass of milk at his parent’s house.
“The audience and the panel is there to help me figure out how to unpack something like that,” she said.
“I don’t usually go through women unless it’s really funny. One time I had a woman’s profile pop up and it was all of the death dates of her relatives. That was my favorite Tinder Live woman’s profile,” Moore added.
In addition to audience participation, most shows also feature a hand-picked panel that helps Moore analyze the profiles. The panels are made up of comedians, writers, and has included Mara Wilson, several cast members from shows like Orange is the New Black and The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
“Their job is to analyze things on the profile that I might have missed,” she said, adding “I always make sure it’s as diverse as possible. There are definitely a lot of women and I try to have as many LGBTQ people and people of color on the panel. I’m really adamant about that.”
The list of panelists will only get more diverse now that Moore and Tinder Live are gearing up for a national tour. She already has two East Coast shows booked in addition to her residency at The Bell House where she will doing a special Valentine’s Day performance. The show is expected to reach between 30-40 cities throughout 2017, including stops in Milwaukee, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
“I go on Tinder in every city just to see what the differences are. I noticed when I brought the show to Portland that 90% of the people in profiles were in the woods,” Moore said. “I hate to stereotype, but there are definitely trends. There were some very Portlandia things in the profiles. Like you’re a sustainable farmer, of course you are! I haven’t spent time on Tinder in LA, but I’m sure it’s like IMDB pages.”
While the show is designed to get a laugh regardless of location, it has also proven to be educational and cathartic for the audience. In a society where more and more people are connecting online rather than in person, online dating can be frustrating and Tinder Live alleviates some of that irritation by proving that everyone is seeing the same types of profiles in their efforts to find love or something less serious.
“There is a huge learning aspect that I’ve heard from both men and women,” she explained. “Women feel like they learn to be a little more free with my messaging and to take it less seriously. And men admit that they didn’t realize that if they say something it could come off a certain way.”
“I’m coming from such a tender-hearted place,” Moore said. “I genuinely want people to find love and the show pokes fun of all the ways that we’re trying to connect with each other.”