By Julia Borcherts, @JuliaBorcherts
July 23, 2013
The interwebs have been good to Joe Moses.
His first round of internet fame came from playing Severus Snape in Team Starkid's online parody sensation, "A Very Potter Musical." Then he went viral with his follow-up YouTube project, "The Potion Master's Corner."
For the past two years, he's been performing a sketch and improv comedy show called "The Joe Moses One Man Showses" (#JMOMS), which featured himself and a rotating cast of guests. But for a five-city live tour—which kicked off Saturday in New York City—he added Curt Mega (Nick on "Glee") and Tessa Netting (from the Broadway production of "Billy Elliott") as permanent tour cast members. And since it was no longer a one-man show, he changed the show name to simply "The Joe Moses Showses."
He took to Twitter to break the news. "For the sake of honesty and our poor confused Jewish mothers trying to get a date," he tweeted on July 11, "I'm gradually changing #JMOMS to #JoMoShow." On July 13, Moses staged a streaming Twitter promotion for #JoMoShow that trended worldwide. We called the L.A.-based actor—as he arrived at Comic-Con International in San Diego—to find out more about the show, internet fame and his relationship with social media. And herewith, Moses discloses.
His description of himself in less than 140 characters: "Well, I have a rote answer: 'Actor, writer, robot fighter.' I'm an actor, a writer, improviser, a comedian, voice actor. Everything I can do, basically, I will do. I just love to perform and I've been doing it my whole life and social media has been really, really quite a gift to me and to all of StarKid, finding an audience and communicating with them directly."
If he were stranded on a deserted island with access to only one social media platform: "The best one is the one you use the most, right? Twitter is the one I use most frequently. But! The one that has the most ability to communicate information and be creative is actually Tumblr, but it's still less mainstream. It's a little more mainstream now that Yahoo has purchased them and they've been in the news more recently. But it's definitely the best one. I can put pictures, videos, text—everything you want, you can put on Tumblr. You can answer questions directly. So Tumblr's the most thorough, but Twitter is probably the most popular."
On the #JoMoShow Twitter promotion: "I've never personally had anything trend on Twitter before. So I just thought it would be a lot of fun."
How he made it happen: "I emailed and called a bunch of my friends that have a following of their own on Twitter and sort of secretly put the word out to them. And then a couple days before, I put it out on my Twitter—'Hey guys, at noon Pacific Time on Saturday, we're going to try and trend it.' And all my friends really came through for me. It's a very cool little community of people I'd met through various things and became friends with for whatever reason. Not only StarKid but people like Jackie Emerson from "The Hunger Games" and [comedian] Grace Helbig and some people who have a very strong online presence. [Disney princess parodist] Jon Cozart contributed as well. It's hard to trend something on Twitter worldwide. [Laughs.] But it came through! And I was so happy everyone chipped in to help me. I was very, very excited about that."
The importance of a virtual community: "We're going to five cities to start out with. If everything goes well, we'll expand and go to more cities. But this is something that everybody can participate in. And that's really important to me. That's something I really enjoy—that everyone can have a voice in it. And it definitely was the case, 'cause it was trending in the U.S. first, which makes sense 'cause we're going to U.S. cities. But then shortly after that, the U.K. and Australia started contributing and that really bumped it up to worldwide. That was so cool. [Laughs.]"
The lowdown on the Chicago show: "It's hard to describe in one word; I try to call it Panda-tacular. Basically, it's sketch comedy, improvisation, music and parodies all in one. What's new about this show is we're having even more audience interaction than we've ever had before—it will be very interactive."
The top-secret interactive components: "We're keeping it a little bit under wraps, but we always interact with the audience during an improv segment called 'Joe Moses Supposes,' where I actually take live questions from the audience and answer them and then if my co-host doesn't like the answer, they ring the bell and I have to come up with a completely new answer on the spot. That's something we've been working on. But then in particular for this show, at the end there's a segment of 'quote-unquote' musical improvisation and we're actually going to bring up a volunteer to be part of our final musical number."
How the show comes together: "Curt and Tessa and I have been working on the show for the past few months in Los Angeles. Previously, we'd usually meet the cast in the city a day before or the same day and sort of get everything together at the last second. But luckily, Curt and Tessa and I have been able to work on the material a little bit more this time. [Laughs.] It's very fun and very high energy. It's definitely not the most well-rehearsed thing you've ever seen, but there's a lot of creativity and a lot of spontaneity in it that I really enjoy. So for this cast, it's Curt and Tessa [who] have been with us the whole time ... but in each individual city, we'll meet people that are from that city or around that city at that time and have some special guests on the show."
The Chicago special guests: "They're secrets! Partially because it's just fun to surprise people, and secondly because I have a lot of friends in Chicago but their schedules often change quite quickly. So I don't want to announce anybody that wouldn't end up showing up. [Laughs.] I have a couple familiar faces lined up for sure that are definitely going to be surprises and it's going to be a lot of fun for people."
Every ticketholder gets the VIP meet-and-greet treatment: "We're doing that in Boston and Chicago only—every ticket that comes in is going to be available for the meet and greet. So you'll get to meet the whole cast before the show and we'll talk with everyone for 45 minutes before the show starts. And then, everyone takes their seat, we go backstage and get prepped and then we do the whole show."
Why it's post-show and not pre-show: "This is actually the first time we've done them before the performance; I usually do a Q&A-slash-meet and greet after the performance. But for this particular show, Chicago's a little bit later at night so it seems easier to do it earlier, before the performance. And these shows are really high-energy, so I think by the end of the show, we're going to be completely exhausted. [Laughs.]"
Unexpected meet-and-greet happenings: "We get a lot of really strange and phenomenal gifts from fans, from things that are very personal to letters and sometimes people will write songs or they make collages. But one time, I actually got an oil painting on canvas of basically a still frame from one of our previous shows. It was hand-painted by the person who gave it to us. And that was really astounding. I also get a lot of panda-related merchandise 'cause that's sort of a theme that I have going—homemade knit pandas or panda cupcakes or a panda cake."
Joe Moses supposes ...
We asked Moses for impromptu hashtags on some timely topics. Here are his answers:
Pitchfork Music Festival: "I'd probably do #forkmusic. Or #pitchperfect."
The royal baby: "Something like #kingbaby. That immediately brings to mind, to me, 'Game of Thrones,' like, King Joffrey. So maybe, #gameofbabies."
"Star Trek Into Darkness" (in which he plays a voice role): "I'm a big Simon Pegg fan, so all of his 'Shaun of the Dead' stuff comes back to me for that. But the big thing for me in that one was Benedict [Cumberbatch]—we had so many for that one. Like, #startrekintobenedict, #thewrathofsherlock, #intosherlock, #startrekwrathofmoriarty. Another one would be #startrekintocheekbones—'cause of Benedict."
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