Lane Moore is one of those multitalented people that makes creative self-actualization seem like a breeze. She acts, she writes, she plays music, she does stand-up. Moore’s a regular 21st-century Renaissance man. When I tell her as much, she laughs good-naturedly and says, “that makes me feel like I should be wearing a jaunty cap.”
And, despite publishing a best-selling book (How to Be Alone), running sold-out comedy tours, and fronting what Bust dubbed the best band of 2015 (It Was Romance), bafflingly, she still does her own PR. After multiple emails, texts, and rounds of phone tag, we caught up while she was pulled over on the side of the road in Colorado, waiting out a snowstorm before a gig at Gordon Gamm Theater in Boulder.
Since 2014, Moore has taken her show, “Tinder Live,” all over the country. When she started out, dating apps were still novel. Whatever effort we were previously putting into constructing our image on a first date was now suddenly distilled into a 500-character bio and nine photos. A whole new way of interacting.
Moore recalls being in her apartment with her roommates at the time, all three of them sitting around, swiping separately, riffing on the weird profiles, funny photos, and bombastic opening lines. “I immediately thought: this is a comedy show,” she says. “It was so clear to me because it was so strange. The process of trying to meet people can be really exhausting and lonely, and this was no exception. I love being able to find jokes in the things that are painful and frustrating in this world.”
At her roommates’ encouragement, Moore developed the concept into a show and took it on the road. Eight years later, “Tinder Live” has proved a bottomless barrel. Key to the formula’s success is that each show is a fully improvised, categorically unique experience. Moore takes to the stage in whatever small town or city she’s in to project her phone screen as she swipes through the local harem of men on Tinder and engages in an evening of playful, interactive hilarity with the audience.
“The beauty of it is that it’s created with the audience,” Moore says. “They choose whether I swipe right or left.” A quick primer for the Tinder-illiterate: swipe left=dislike, swipe right=like. If the person you like liked you back, you match and then you can start chatting—this is where the fun starts.
“Literally, when I match, people scream,” Moore says. “I’ve never seen that at a comedy show, it’s like it’s the Roman Colosseum. It’s like a sporting event. I have always had the most engaged audience, even if it’s their first show and they don’t know what is going on, they’re so excited to be a part of this thing that can never be duplicated. If you’re in the audience, we’re the only ones that got to experience that together. People are so invested.”
When swiping, Moore and her giddy, gung-ho crowd are angling for the weirdest, most outlandish profiles, not the harmless boy next door. “They know the rules,” she says. “We’re only swiping right on a guy’s profile if he is half on fire and giving you the finger. If the profile seems normal and kind and cool, we swipe left.”
During one show, Moore swiped right on one guy whose profile picture showed him walking away from the camera. Moore told the audience, “Look, he’s already leaving us.” Riffing on that image, she launched into the chat with him, saying, “Where the hell have you been? You left our entire family.” To which he responded without missing a beat, “Sorry my darling, I should never have done that.” And so the conversation unfolded for the duration of the show, an unbroken role play about how he had broken up their marriage. (“I almost went on a date with that guy in real life,” Moore says.)
Oftentimes audience members or venue staff will know the person on-screen and call out details about them that Moore uses to tee up the conversation. “People say, ‘Oh my god I know that guy. Or ‘I dated that guy,” Moore says. “That happens fairly often. ‘That’s my brother’ or ‘that’s my friend’s ex. He’s weird, he’ll be fun to talk to.’” On a recent tour stop, one of the right-swipes had gotten kicked out of the bar the previous evening.
Moore sets her age range from 18 to 100, pulling a wide swath of men from college frat bros to octogenarians. “That is the coolest thing too about being on tour—we are swiping through the town we are currently in,” she says “I’m getting a birds-eye view on what the profiles look like in that area. “LA profiles are almost always headshots—people in the industry. New York City is a lot of finance guys. DC is a lot of people in politics. I don’t know what to expect in Woodstock.”
Find out alongside her when Moore brings “Tinder Live” to Colony Woodstock on March 12.