Moshe Kasher Royal Theatre, Toronto ON, September 25

Moshe Kasher Royal Theatre, Toronto ON, September 25
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Oakland born'n'bred comic Moshe Kasher showcased the evolution of his comedy to a slightly tentative but ultimately won-over crowd on College Street in Toronto on Friday night. He may have startled some front-row dwellers who weren't expecting the level of crowd work engagement he hit them with, but his good-natured deconstruction of what was happening to them helped put everyone at ease.
 
His act has evolved from relying on his fascinating backstory (Jewish, born to a deaf mom, raised in predominantly black Oakland) also chronicled in his book Kasher in the Rye. These days, he delights in using his slight frame and expressive mannerisms to challenge and deconstruct notions of masculinity and gender. That he assumes audiences are on board with his progressive ideology is notable — he never doubts that he's on the right side of issues, and doesn't pander or apologize, just moves forward. During one joke about feeling double transgender, he mimed the audience jumping on and off board with this joke as it progressed, like they were playing double-dutch with whether or not someone was being victimized by what was essentially simple wordplay.
 
Kasher also delights in doing crowd work, and throughout his act would deconstruct it at the same time, explaining why he likes to engage in people at shows, how his sense of self (particularly his appearance) has evolved with his comedy, telling stories about losing his comic mojo in Ireland only to regain it in Indianapolis. A remarkable set by one of the smartest comics working today.