Often, the saddest scenarios are the ones we need to laugh at the most. Jon Stewart helped us ingest more than a decade of very bleak realities by reminding us that the human spirit (or at least our sense of humor) is still stronger than all the awful crap the world throws at us. With this in mind, we thank comedian Lane Moore for creating Tinder Live!, an interactive, live-performance, therapy-comedy show created to help those of us who have submitted to dating online deal with its inherently depressing realities.
If you have been on a streak of notably bad Tinder (or other online-origin) dates lately—i.e. almost everyone I know—then you will want to go to the Bell House this Thursday for Moore’s latest performance. And this one promises to be especially palliative, because she has acquired help from professionals: Jon Glaser, Scott Adsit (30 Rock), and Stephanie March (Law & Order: SUV), all of whom are cast members from the new Adult Swim miniseries Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter.
Moore—who has written for The Onion, McSweeney’s, xoJane, is a former Jezebel editor, and was named #19 of the 75 funniest people on Twitter by Paste Magazine—created Tinder Live! from real-life Tinder woes. “I’m a romantic in New York City who works a lot and is never in bars unless I’m performing in them so, yeah, it comes from a lot of personal experience dating online,” Moore wrote to me in a very congenial email exchange—which grew, I think, immediately more sympathetic once I told her I, too, had recently submitted to joining the app.
“Haha, you’re on Tinder now?! Are you ok? Do you need counseling?”
These are real questions, Lane Moore.
Tinder Live!, as Moore describes it, is all of her guests simultaneously going on a Tinder profile Moore has set up, which shows the wannabe dater to be “a drunk idiot who loves emojis,” in order to help her figure out who would be a suitable match. Ultimately, the audience decides whether or not she should swipe right or left.
Since the profile in question is not actually Moore’s but rather that of her horrible emoji-loving character, no Tinder Live! decisions have resulted in real dates, which Moore kindly clarifies for me. “I only talk to guys who seem clearly terrible (married guys who seem to be legit cheating, racist guys, etc.). If a guy seems remotely nice, normal, or decent, I swipe left because it’s truly not a trolly, mean-spirited show.”
Given the horrific state of dating here in New York, even this little bit of non-trollery is heartwarming. And because Moore has spent so much time on the app (real and performative), I figure she must have wisdom to share with me about her experience with it.
What do apps like Tinder say about the status of dating culture in New York City? I wonder.
“That no one wants to be earnest or vulnerable or really put in much effort,” she responds, giving me some exceptionally potent truth.
And yet, sometimes saying stuff out loud, identifying precisely why and what makes something miserable, also makes it a little better. Hearing somebody sane pinpoint the fact that online dating sucks specifically because it does not deal in love—the supposed reason any of us are doing this in the first place—does oddly improve my depression.
Still, we are humans. So we keep trying to do the same things we have already failed at over and over. I tell her I’m sure I’ve missed out on approximately 40 potentially great dates because I don’t like the dude’s hairline or height or nose, but I keep Tindering the same way anyway. How can I do better?
“My tactics change all the time, but lately I only swipe on someone who I think is stupidly hot,” she writes. “The odds that most people you meet online (and offline) have incompatible personalities with yours are so solid that if nothing else, at least you’ll be on a date with someone who is fun to look at. Plus, their messages should be great from the get-go. That’s rule #1.”
Though Moore has been performing Tinder Live! for a little while, she still thrills in its performance. She might not have found love on an app, but she’s found it in her audience. “The energy in the room at Tinder Live! is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at a live show. People get so into it!” she tells me. “The audience gets so psyched when someone matches me on Tinder. Like, as psyched as you would get when someone hot matches with you, it’s 400x as much when I get a match on stage.”
That’s pretty good. I hate online dating but I do get a little extra hop in my step when someone really hot matches with me. Who wouldn’t want to experience that feeling, only four hundred times more intensely? Short of real love, I can’t think of much better.