Kasher If You Can
Comedian finds the humor in a very misspent youth with published memoir
By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief
Stand-up comic Moshe Kasher takes readers through altogether different territory than comedy in his recently published memoir, “Kasher in the Rye,” covering his extreme juvenile delinquent past in the Oakland, Calif. area.
All before age 16, Kasher abused copious amounts of marijuana, whippets, cocaine, acid and alcohol; became a regular vandal and graffiti artist; shoplifted on a regular basis; dropped out of a few schools and a couple rehab facilities; and aged his single mother years in the process. In the book, he tells all these tales with loads of dark comedy. This reviewer isn’t yet familiar with his stand-up material, but with this history, it’s got to be dark as well.
It’s incredible Kasher didn’t suffer some fatal misadventure in all that he did, or end up locked up for life, or well on the way to that. But since he survived and eventually turned the corner to treat his addictions and stop committing crimes, he’s certainly got more than enough surreal and darkly comic true stories to fill this book and probably a couple more. Kasher is clearly skilled as a comic writer and his experience since as a stand-up has probably honed the focus he shows in telling these stories.
For all the corrosiveness of his behavior and the hostility it engendered toward him in his past, Kasher displays an understanding about himself that is certainly evident in the later stages of this memoir. Without that perspective, “Kasher in the Rye” couldn’t possibly be as entertaining with these sorts of life experiences for subject matter as it is.
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© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua