Photo by Jena Cumbo
Lane Moore is a comedian, writer, actor, musician … and one of the most delightful people on the planet. While she has been hard at work writing her first book, How To Be Alone, she somehow still finds the time to produce and host her critically-acclaimed comedy show Tinder Live! With Lane Moore.
While we’ll all have to impatiently wait until November to read the book, we chatted with Lane about what makes Tinder Live such a special show. We also pressed her for an update on “Laundry Guy,” the cute boy from her building she met in the most adorable way (a saga she turned into a viral Twitter thread).
[To hear the podcast version of this interview, click here.]
What was the original idea for Tinder Live and how did you begin putting together the show?
I’ve been online dating for most of my life, which is a whole other story, but more of my life than you think. So, basically, four-and-a-half years ago or something like that, Tinder was just really picking up steam, and it was at a point where everybody had it. I don’t remember when it came out. I think it came out in 2012, but it was like, by the time 2014, 2013 hit, it was on everybody’s phone.
So, I was in my apartment at the time. I had two roommates, and I came out and they were both on Tinder at the exact time and didn’t even realize it. And they were just sitting at the table on Tinder together, and I was like, “Okay, what is this app? I’m in. I’ll get it. If you’re both separately on Tinder at the same time, and you didn’t even realize it, just to get a peek, I’ll check it out.”
On every panel, I’m the keeper of the tone. So, I have to be the one who’s the least cynical, who’s the most optimistic.
So, I signed up for Tinder in that moment, and literally one, maybe two profiles in, I was like, “Can I go get my camera? Can I shoot us going on Tinder live together, because this is really funny and I really like this?” Then, a few more profiles in, I was like, “Guys, what if I made this like a comedy show? This is just so obviously a comedy show to me. We could have a profile on stream, and the audience could vote whether I swipe right or left. Then it would just be this super interactive thing and I’d talk to you guys in real time. And it’d be like Mystery Science Theater, but with Tinder.”
And fortunately, both my roommates were like, “Oh my God, make that happen right now.”
And I was like, “Yeah, I think it could be cool.”
And they were like, “No, seriously, go do this.”
And I was like, “Okay.”
So, I went into my room, and I’m editing the footage to get that on the video, and I started brainstorming. What would the show look like? What would it be? And that same night, pitched it to comedy theaters, and then not long after did the first show. And then they just started selling out so fast, even though I hadn’t really told anyone about them. It was like the first show, we didn’t really tell anybody about. Then I put up a bunch of flyers and the second one, I started getting messages from people, and they were like, “Everyone in my office is going to Tinder Live tonight. They’re all talking about how they’re going to your show.”
And I was like, “What, really? That’s cool.” And I get there and it’s sold out, super packed, and I was like, “This is nuts.” That’s not how it works building a show. I have been producing, and running, and doing comedy shows for so long, but that’s not how that works. It’s just not. It picked up steam so fast, and now we tour all over the U.S. with it, and soon it’ll be international. I do the show every single month at Littlefield in Brooklyn. And it’s just crazy. But not, because it’s really great.
It feels like the trickiest thing with that show is finding the right tone because you don’t want to be cynical. It’d be easy to mock the whole thing, but you do it with this sincerity. That’s a tricky balance to find. Was that something that you had to adjust as you went?
Kind of, because I knew that I wanted it to be a really good-natured show, because if I was doing the show and you came up on the screen and I was like, “What a piece of shit.” I don’t know that you’re a piece of shit. I don’t know that. On every panel, I’m the keeper of the tone. So, I have to be the one who’s the least cynical, who’s the most optimistic. I really go in believing that every single guy, unless he makes it really explicit that he’s not, is a good dude who just doesn’t know that his profile’s coming off the wrong way. So, I really do take that and run with it as fast and far as I can. And unless someone’s openly super hateful, it’s such a gentle show, and I love how often I get guys who were like, “My friend told me I was on Tinder Live. Do you have the video? That show’s so funny. That’s so cool.”
And I’m like, “I don’t, but I guess you will just have to come to the show.”
That was a big part of it, because in anybody else’s hands I know it would be this super mean show, but to me, that wouldn’t be funny. It’s only funny when it’s playful and it’s good natured. I feel like now that people know that it’s such a genuinely good-natured show, people know, but for a while it was like, “Oh that sounds really mean.” And that was the thing I had to kind of fight against.
It’s like, “No, I promise. Just come see the show, it’s not.”
People in a lot of ways are kinder than you would think, because if anything in the show, I definitely noticed in the beginning, if a panelist or something would say something that was a little bit on the meaner side, I could feel it when the audience was like, “Oh, I don’t like that.” So, you think that’s it’s going to be this group of people like at the freaking Colosseum or something just being like, “Kill him,” and it’s really not. I’m really glad those aren’t the audiences.
Every now and again there’s one person who’s like, “I don’t like Greg.”
And you’re like, “What did Greg do to you ma’am?” But I always take that as an educational moment and remind them like, “Look, I don’t know what you’re bringing to the table about Greg, but we don’t know Greg. And Greg could be wonderful, and we just have to move on with our lives. It doesn’t matter.”
Photo by Mindy Tucker
Perhaps what connects, and maybe why the show blew up so much is that, is that there is this vulnerability to online dating. And there’s a vulnerability to a lot of the work that you do, which is why people connect with you. And so, there needs to be a trust or a taking care of everyone.
Totally. Yeah. I’ve definitely heard people say about Tinder Live that I’m more likely to make fun of myself, or I’m just as likely to make fun of myself on the show. I don’t come at it from like, “I’m perfect with online dating, and who are all these morons?” No. I’m a human being as well. And I try to see all sides. And I’m not perfect with online dating either, or I wouldn’t be single, or who knows, maybe I’m not meant to meet someone on online dating, I can’t know. But dating isn’t any easier for me on Tinder, I can tell you that right now, because it involves two people. So, even if you know everything, like, you know the right way to do it, the other person doesn’t.
Honestly, that is a larger goal of Tinder Live for sure, which is that the guys who come to the show, who are really awesome good dudes will watch the show and be like, “Oh, I shouldn’t say or do that because I look like a dick.” I do want that, and then maybe it’s like creating better boyfriends for people. That would make me very happy.
It’s important to realize that a lot of people have no idea of what they’re putting out into the world. And, if you come at it from a point of just mocking them or attacking them, then that shuts it down, versus, at least giving them an opportunity to reflect and change. Then, if you give them that opportunity and it turns out they were intentionally putting that messaging out there, then you can judge them accordingly.
Right. Exactly, and sometimes that’s the case. But I just want it to be less frustrating. If you look at it like, “Okay, in theory we’re all on there because we want to make a specific kind of connection. So, how can I help facilitate us making a better connection and people being more clear about what they want?” Because even as an online dater myself, I’m constantly like, “How do I figure out what you actually want, so I can know if it’s in line with what I actually want instead of doing this thing where we talk for a week, and then go on a bunch of stupid dates and I realize you want something that’s totally incompatible to what I want. How do I do that faster? I think part of it is people need to put it in their profile kind of thing. I don’t know, but it’s such a larger thing, because when it comes down to it so many people don’t actually know what they want, and I think that’s the reason why people are frustrated with online dating.
Do you find that the show plays differently in different cities; the type of people that you get or the type of audiences? Is it a different show?
No, you would be surprised how similar it is in the best way. Because I’ve told myself like, “Well, they’re in smaller towns,” and by smaller towns I mean like, smaller than New York City, which is every town. But if they’re in towns outside of, let’s say, New York and L.A., I bet Tinder’s not as popular. Maybe people aren’t as frustrated, because everybody there wants a relationship, which I know is naïve to think. But I think that a lot of us think that. It’s like, “Oh, in smaller towns, is it easier to read people? And people want something great, and they find someone easily.” You tell yourself that it’s got to be like that. And then you get there and you’re like, “Oh my god, everyone’s upset.” Everyone’s struggling.
I talk to people all over the country, men and women, and they’re just like, “Oh, it’s awful. Dating now is just so complicated. And you don’t know what people actually want. Or you don’t know what you’re supposed to do.” It’s a mess everywhere, which is really wonderful for someone who’s trying to bring a comic to online dating all over the country. Because it resonates so hardcore.
The only thing that’s different is when you go to Washington, D.C., it’s like everyone’s in politics. Everyone’s a politician. Everyone on there, is just like, “I work for the Pentagon,” “I work for The White House,” and you’re like, “Oh, my God. It’s just like everyone.” And then you go to Portland, and everyone’s profile photos are in the woods. I love seeing those, that’s where the differences are, in the same way that in New York City it’d be photos of people at maybe the High Line or something like that, and in L.A. maybe it’s like an IMDb photo. So those are my favorites differences, but it’s not different in any fundamental way.
Photo by Mindy Tucker
Do you think about the longevity of the show? What happens if you end up in a relationship or Tinder stops being a go to app?
I do. Absolutely. That’s always been in my mind. I think anytime you really love something, you’re going to think about what if it ends. I think about that with my dog all the time. I’m constantly cuddling her, and being like, “One day you will die.” And, she’s very aware. And with Tinder Live, yeah, I’ve absolutely thought about those things. But here’s the way I look at that:
1. I’ve absolutely been in relationships while doing Tinder Live, that’s never been anything that’s been a problem because the basis of the show isn’t finding Lane a boyfriend. That’s not the basis of the show, so even if I was in a relationship or something like that, I don’t think it changes anything because it’s still a comedy show. You know what I mean? So, to me that doesn’t really change anything. When I’m on the show the guys I’m talking to are not really nice, beautiful, wonderful guys who I would actually date, because that’s not that funny to watch. The example I’ve always used is like a white guy with cornrows, his name is Amen. That’s who I’m talking to. So, I can talk to that guy single, married, whatever, and it would be hilarious.
And then in terms of the other thing, first of all, let’s say this magical new app came out. I could totally do it with that app. You could really do it with any app. Tinder’s the one that I started with and Tinder’s the one that seems to have the most people who are around and write back real fast because it’s got so many people on it. Some of the people are like, “Why don’t you do it on Bumble?”
I think anytime you really love something, you’re going to think about what if it ends. I think about that with my dog all the time.
I’m like, “What difference does it make? What? Why? Do you think it’s different there? It’s not, I’ve used them all. It doesn’t really matter.” I could do it on there, it’s just it wouldn’t change anything. I don’t know, if you like the difference of like, someone goes to a Burger King and a McDonalds, it’s like, who cares? They give me the same result, you’re making jokes off burgers. That’s a really weird example, but it seems right to me.
One of the topics you are frequently asked about online is the “Laundry Guy” saga. It seems like one of the most frequent requests you get on social media is for updates on this story.
It is, and because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time. I have so many updates that I deeply want to tell the Internet. So many that I’m overwhelmed because it’s tough when I have a Patreon account, and I posted an update on there for the feature and subscriber people partly because a lot of times will get stuff before I put it online, but also partly because it’s so much easier to write out a long paragraph saying what happened as opposed to blocking out a freaking Tweet thread. It’s so much work to be like, “Okay, so I’ll break it up here. I’ll break it up here. And then I’ll break it up here.”
And I know that might not sound like a lot, but I just had so much going on that I’ve been like, “Alright, Lane, when you get a second to eat and shower, then you can tell the Internet about laundry guy. But they’re really lovely updates and it’s also like, I’ve got to remember all the details of, “Oh, yeah, that happened first, and this happened first.”
And I saw the thread that went viral the other day about with the girl on the plane, and I think that’s much easier to do because it’s happening in a finite amount of time. But this is a guy who lives in my freaking building. This is not just happening for two hours. I was keeping that thread updating for several days over the course of months. I kept that going. But now at this point, I’m like, “Okay, there are updates, but I’ve got a lot going on. I can’t make this my full-time job talking about this,” but don’t get me wrong, it’s also still lovely.
The beautiful thing about the laundry guy’s situation is that, it was one of those things where I almost didn’t Tweet it. It was almost was like, “Is this something only I think is cool?” You know what I mean? That happens to me fairly frequently where I’m like, “What if no one gets this? What if everyone’s like, big deal?” I’ll just think like, “I don’t know.” Then was like, “You know what? Screw it.” I will tell you nine times out of 10 … my most popular Tweets almost always were like that, where I was like, “Who wants to here about this?” And it’s so many people, Lane. What’s wrong with you? So more of those updates are forthcoming, but they’re good updates. They’re not like, he’s dead now.
That would be a crazy twist.
Some sort of laundry related mishap too. There’s an irony to it.
Exactly. Uh-huh. Something happened in the basement. That’s what I’ve waited to tell you guys. I’ll tell you later.
“They found him with a note in his pocket confessing his love for me.”
Exactly. But it was a bomb. It was put there by an ex-girlfriend. And like, it’s just really weird like a telenovella. It was Tide PODs, but with an explosive. So, it doesn’t go there yet, hopefully.
Hopefully, all of that just gets taken out context in some really lazy clickbait article: “Lane Moore updates – Tide PODS kills laundry guy.”
Oh, my god. Totally. No. I don’t need that to happen. They’re nice boys. I refer to them as laundry men really because there’s a guy I thought was laundry guy, and then there’s a guy who actually was laundry guy. And so, that’s interesting to me. That kind of makes it even more like a rom-com.
Yeah, definitely, there’s a Cyrano de Bergerac kind of quality to it.
Oh, my God. Yeah, totally. Yeah, and it’s also a little bit like While You Were Sleeping. Wasn’t it like that, where it’s like he thinks that she likes guy, but it’s actually this other guy.
Is that the one where he’s in the coma?
Yeah, it is.
And then she falls in love with the friend who’s visiting him? That all sounds vaguely familiar.
Yeah. It was great.
Is there’s anything else that we didn’t touch on that you want to make sure to mention?
I’m going back on tour with Tinder Live in the fall. So, those dates are coming up, and I have a mailing list for dates, so they can just follow all of the things. But, yeah, I guess, maybe we could also mention pre-ordering the book from wherever you buy books from; your local book people. If you don’t type it as “book people,” I will lose it.
Photo by Ariana Anhalt
Interviewed by Joel Murphy. You can learn more about Tinder Live, and find show dates, here. Follow Lane Moore on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can pre-order How To Be Alone here or from your local book people.