There’s no denying you need impenetrable skin in order to become a successful comedian. No matter how funny and innovative you are, there will always be haters. And if you let the haters get to you as a comedian, you’ll become paralyzed, unable to perform, to create. But every once in a while, it seems, the temptation for a comedian to respond to a piece of hate mail is just too great. And so when former Ronald Reagan staffer and regular Fox News talking head Betsy Hart felt the need to detail why she despised Moshe Kasher’s performance at Miami University and how Kasher ruined quality time with her daughter (a student at the college) Kasher felt the need to respond. And we’re happy he did.
Below, we’ve lovingly pasted the message to Moshe from Betsy Hart, who, by the way, LOVES telling people how to live their lives. She’s the author of an advice book titled It Takes A Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting our Kids—and What to Do About It. Following her letter is Moshe’s response (reprinted with his permission). The original can be found on Moshe’s official site. While the below is an entertaining back and forth, it is, more importantly, a commentary on how comedy is consumed.
Enjoy! And feel free to leave your comments below.
Hi Moshe –
I am a mom of a Miami University student, and I was present in the audience when you were on stage for parents’ weekend. I love to laugh, and I can laugh at anything intelligent.
I myself appeared on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” show some 20 times over the years. I know what I’m talking about.
Moshe, you weren’t funny.
Perhaps you have heard from other parents who were uncomfortable with your routine. They may not have felt forewarned that virtually the entire act would be centered around comments like, “your grandmother sucked on your grandfather’s d#@k get over it” and watching you simulate masturbation, as they sat next to their children and grandchildren who now had something to think about all evening.
But what struck me most is that you simply were not making people truly laugh. Anybody can stand on stage, simulate masturbation, and probably get a nervous giggle. “Potty humor” is popular in some circles I suppose. Usually those circles are in the third grade, but so it goes.
What is hard to do is make people laugh by being intelligent, nuanced, subtle, thoughtful and insightful.
I saw Bob Hope, as a child. I’m STILL laughing over his routine. No one is going to say that about yours 40 years from now.
I’ve seen Jerry Seinfeld live more than once, a true comedic genius, and I laughed so hard I couldn’t breath. Not even a four-letter word passed his lips. He didn’t need it. The audience was simply holding their sides because he touched us where we live – and that takes talent.
Other comedians from Bob Newhart to Ellen have had that gift. I’m not even suggesting it always has to be “positive.” The late great Joan Rivers could perform verbal vivisection on others, but it worked not just because one always had the sense she was making fun of herself more than anyone — but because she was creative and brilliant.
Moshe what bothered me most about your performance wasn’t that it was vile, immature, and totally inappropriate for the audience. In some ways that’s more Miami University’s fault than yours and it’s my understanding from them that countless parents have responded negatively to the choice of entertainment this year. No, my biggest regret is that your act used up precious time I had with my daughter – and it didn’t even make me laugh.
I wanted you to know.
Miami University Mom
I remember that show actually and I remember it being really fun and thousands of people laughing.
You know, a great disease of people in today’s society is that they feel their subjective opinion can be held up to be an empirical fact. What you should have said was, “You weren’t funny, to me” and to that I would have replied, “That’s because my comedy is not for you.” I don’t write comedy for people who think that its some kind of special gift to “not have a four letter word pass your lips”. That kind of prudish, parochial approach to comedy is so backwards and reductive that it immediately makes your opinion a complete fucking pile of disposable trash… to me.
I read in your obviously self-authored Wikipedia page that you are a frequent contributor to Fox News. The fact that you have the gall to admonish me for making jerk off gestures while you contribute to the poisoning of the well of societies intellectual drinking water that that horrifying news network represents is funnier than anything Bob Hope ever said. BUT AGAIN THAT’S JUST TO ME.
Another disease of people today is that they think that because they don’t enjoy something, it is then imperative for them to inform the person who created the thing they didn’t enjoy of their displeasure. But here’s the thing Betsy, no one needs to know your opinion all of the time. Sometimes you can just say, “well that wasn’t for me” and avoid the temptation to pay your discomfort forward by writing a stranger some kind of attempt at a send up of their career choices. Its just rude for the sake of being rude. Now while you might say my routine was rude too, I’d counter that that’s not what it’s design is. Its design was and is to make people laugh. And judging by the thousands of people surrounding you who aren’t on the Sean Hannity call sheet (and not Bill Maher’s for over a decade) I did my job that night. To be frank if I wasn’t making people like you uncomfortable, I’d be very concerned.
Betsy what bothers me most about your letter isn’t that it was mean-spirited, unnecessary and over long. No, my biggest problem with your letter is the same as yours with my routine: It made me sad to think of you leaving my show and, instead of just getting back to enjoying your daughter’s company, you couldn’t seem to get the image of me, feverishly pumping my dick onstage out of your closed mind- and it didn’t even make you cum. I think that’s a real shame.
I wanted you to know.
Miami University Motherfucker
It’s so nice when people communicate!