Comedian Moshe Kasher is here to officially be your woke bae.
Wait, can we eve say “woke bae?” Don’t worry, Kasher is here to help with his brand new talk show, Problematic with Moshe Kasher, which premiered last night. The Comedy Central website describes the show thus:
“Moshe Kasher brings the internet’s most contentious topics into the studio for face-to-face discussions that are sure to make everyone uncomfortable. It’s a message board come to life – but this time, hiding behind a username isn’t an option.”
And, what do you know, without anonymity, the discourse becomes way more civil! (Plus, there’s some heavy editing at play— it looks like it took a lot to get the conversation down to the essentials at under half an hour.)
And that first half hour? Kasher dove in deep; the theme was “cultural appropriation,” with the central question: “Where is the line?” Over the course of the episode, he talked to a diverse group of artists about what cultural appropriation is, what it isn’t, and why it’s hurtful in the first place.
Since it is a Comedy Central show, there was also a rap explaining cultural appropriation, featuring white (and Jewish) rapper MC Serch. The only time Jewish culture made the list as a victim was kabbalah, but from Kenny G to the Beastie Boys, boy did Jews make the list of appropriators.
Kasher also referenced his own Jewishness a handful of times in the first episode, but it was almost always in a self-deprecating context. He doesn’t seem to be hosting the show as a member of a minority, but as a Straight White Dude. (Perhaps he’ll shift his perspective for future episodes, like people walking away from their traditional faiths in “Losing My Religion,” especially since he has Orthodox members of his family.)
Despite audience questions during the show as well, it wasn’t so much a message board as a 20-minute crash course. Kasher hosted delicately, and (rightfully) always deferred to his guests. And the show in general has a really gentle tone, which takes away most of the bite that could be entertaining but is ultimately more productive. There’s no time for real deep dives, so we’ll see what Episode 2, exploring “Is technology ruining our brains?” can do with the format.
But there’s value to a show that explores difficult topics like race in a thoughtful, if not particularly sophisticated way. Think of it like this: in the wake of recent family seders, maybe sitting down a relative in front of an episode of Kasher’s show will do more to teach them than yelling on your third glass of wine.
Problematic with Moshe Kasher airs on Tuesday nights at 10/9 p.m. Central on Comedy Central.
Image via Comedy Central