Moshe Kasher / Sophie Buddle Rio Theatre, Vancouver BC, February 18

Moshe Kasher / Sophie BuddleRio Theatre, Vancouver BC, February 18
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Vancouver comedian Sophie Buddle first opened for Moshe Kasher at JFL in 2015, and reprised that role last night at the Rio. Buddle's disarming face sets the stage for her comedy, allowing her sardonic wit and salacious humour to surprise and delight. She's already managed to master the delicate balance of stage presence and quality writing, her confident delivery peppered with giggles and relatable truths — especially for women in the audience who took great enjoyment in her ability to call out men for their weird sexual fantasies, just one service she provides from her platform. It's a treat when an opener perfectly compliments the headliner, and in this case we can see why these two are a match.
 
Moshe Kasher is a triple threat, enjoying success not only in comedy since the early '00s but also in writing and acting. These skills make a comic powerhouse, and Moshe's greatest strength is his impromptu crowd work. Last night he started strong right off the top; it easily took up nearly half his set. The audience was mesmerized by his quick-witted roasts and engagement with the front row. He hit a kind of jackpot that night, finding two professional dog-walkers (welcome to Vancouver) and pitted them against each other before trying to strike up a business deal between them. There was never an awkward moment, and though he engaged with only a handful of people it felt like we were all in on the joke together.
 
"I know what I look like." Moshe quips, and hailing from Oakland he fits right into the Vancouver scene. He's sharp and politically aware, constantly working on being the "smart progressive lefty man" he wants to be. Most impressively, his awareness extends deeply towards himself in a way that most other male comedians lack. His open sharing of growing up in a liberal, feminist, pro-sex home led to his sexual comedy and quality bits about his wife's period. Moshe's ability to ride the crowd's discomfort somehow makes him even more endearing, especially when he openly examines and challenges gender issues, masculinity, and sexuality while still lapsing into the occasional dick joke for extra levity. Moshe is quite charming in person, especially when employing rare physical humour and reading the crowd: "Are you guys uncomfortable? These are my memories!" he yells, reminding us that there's an observable truth in every one of his jokes whether they're immediately relatable or not.
 
The highlight of the night involved a conversation about raising children, something he and his comedian wife Natasha Leggero are considering. Comparing new parents to Evangelicals had the crowd roaring with laughter in a city notorious for its child-free population. Moshe ended his set by gathering the audience closer with a final story about the weirdest thing he ever experienced from a crowd. It's a story that's best heard in person, and this intimacy and engagement is just one of the reasons Moshe Kasher must be seen live, as he is readily equipped with a magnetic presence that doesn't always come across on screen.