When I saw married stand-up comedians Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher perform at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre for their “Honeymoon Tour” last summer, the pair had been on the road together for quite some time. In fact, the tour — which they had embarked on not long after getting married in 2015 — was literally meant to be a practical means of extending their newfound marital bliss into as lengthy a honeymoon as possible. And it worked, for not only did they turn it into a short series for Comedy Central, but nearly three years later, The Honeymoon Stand Up Special is now available as a Netflix special.
I spoke with Leggero and Kasher about the evolution of the “Honeymoon Tour,” when they first decided to turn it into a taped special, and how their first child together changed the show’s trajectory. As the pair explained it to me over the phone, they ended up creating a story about two people “who never quite thought they’d get married and have a kid,” then did exactly that. “We were saying all of these really mean things to it,” jokes Leggero, who was seven months pregnant when they filmed Honeymoon in Austin, Texas last November. “I’m glad that our baby got to experience so much applause while in my womb.”
Moshe Kasher: You know we named the baby after your website, right?
I did not know that. Mazel tov!
Natasha Leggero: Little baby Uproxx.
Why did you two decide to tape the show in Austin?
Kasher: The reason we went to Austin was we really liked that venue in particular. But the truth is — since you saw the show in Boston, and this isn’t pandering, I promise — that was such a fun show. The Wilbur is such a cool venue. It’s an embarrassment of riches and we could’ve done the show there, too. But there’s something about the space in Austin that we thought would create the vibe we wanted.
Leggero: And I didn’t want to fly too far.
How far along were you when this taped in November?
Leggero: Seven months, I think.
Kasher: It was literally during the days just before the doctor said, “You have stop flying.”
For obvious reasons, Natasha, you don’t run around as much as your husband. Then again, when you two come together in the third act, you don’t sit either.
Leggero: I don’t think I was sitting on stools at that point.
Kasher: We were actually going to put her in a seat that would put her feet in stirrups, but we thought that might be a little too on the nose.
When “The Honeymoon Tour” began in 2016, you were recently married and weren’t yet pregnant. How did you decide to incorporate the pregnancy into the act? I mean, you had to address it, because many of the jokes you both tell are about not having kids… all the while Natasha is very pregnant.
Kasher: We were looking at the things we had chosen to start talking about on stage, and we realized that, in a cool way, it was creating this narrative about two married people, two parents, who never quite thought they’d get married and have a kid. They never thought they would be parents, and now they were kind of reluctantly looking at the next chapter in their lives. It’s a fun show theme, I think. Who we were on stage was deeply ambivalent about the child that is imminent, so it doesn’t matter because the kid renders our ambivalence totally unimportant.
Leggero: We definitely were afraid of having a child, and we also talk about that at the end of the show. Around the time we recorded it, I think the baby was at the point of development where it was beginning to understand that it was hearing us, the parents, speak and make noises while it was still in the womb. [Laughs.] And we were saying all of these really mean things to it.
Kasher: [laughs] But let’s not paint the wrong picture, here. We were both very excited, but we were also really entertained by the idea — especially Natasha’s stand-up character — of this person who is literally with child while she’s talking about all the reasons she never wanted to have kids. It’s funny, but let me reassure your readers that we have had the baby and we love the baby.
Leggero: Yes. I’m glad that our baby got to experience so much applause while in my womb.
Kasher: The baby’s craving it now already.
I love that you translated your jokes from social media about having the kid, and who does what, to the live show.
Leggero: Moshe didn’t want to put the child up on social media at first, but I am just obsessed with taking pictures of my dogs. So when I had a baby, I knew I was probably going to want to take pictures of it on cute chairs and stuff like that.
Kasher: We consider our child, like, almost double that of a regular dog.
Leggero: Actually, now we hate our dogs.
Kasher: But there’s this weird thing now with people trying to be funny, I guess, and saying, “You’re not going to care about your dogs anymore. You know that, right? You’re gonna look at your dogs and think they’re pieces of shit now.”
Leggero: I like my dogs even more now more because they don’t cry.
Kasher: They’re silent, which is nice, but they’ll never stop shitting uncontrollably. At least the baby will eventually learn to use a toilet.
This special is essentially a time capsule that your kid will get to see one day.
Leggero: Well, I think we decided that hopefully our child will become our opener in about seven years or so.
Kasher: Yeah, six to seven years.
Leggero: It’s going to be a family business. She’s already heard applause, after all.
Kasher: If she decides to waste her time being offended by our old material, then she won’t be helping this family grow as an economic unit.
This was taped in November, right in the thick of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the early days of the #MeToo movement. You’ve got a great segment about men exposing themselves to women in public, Natasha, and I wonder if all that was on your mind when you were performing this.
Leggero: I already had that joke for about six months before the Harvey Weinstein thing happened. I just started taking a random poll of the women in the audience about their experiences with men exposing themselves to them in public.
Kasher: The joke about the people masturbating in public, right?
Leggero: Right. I basically asked the crowd, “Who here has seen a man jerk off in public?” Without fail, in every single show of the tour, I’d say, most of the female hands in the first three rows immediately shot up. Everyone has a story. It was just kind of crazy to me that that had happened to that many people. I think a lot of guys in those rooms were just as surprised, and I think a lot of guys will read this and be totally surprised. They usually just can’t believe that that many women have had this experience.
Kasher: Honestly, that was my experience watching this bit every single one of the hundreds of times I saw it. Natasha and the women in the audience would slowly but surely raise their hands like it was no big deal. Every woman in the room was like, “Well, of course this has happened to me.”
Leggero: Seeing a man masturbate in public in some form. Yup.
Kasher: Night after night, I was like, “How is this happening to so many of these women?” There’s something powerful and instructive about the bit. It’s powerful for women to share these experiences with each other, and it’s instructive to me and other men who just don’t realize, or want to realize, that things like this happen all the time.
Your acts are quite different, stylistically, but there’s a lot of overlap in terms of themes and references. What was your collaborative process like?
Kasher: There’s definitely a lot of synchronicity with what we were thinking and talking about. A lot of the bits were written on tour together and in conversations with each other for the original Honeymoon Tour documentary on Comedy Central. Then it became a wrestling match about who would go first and who’d go second, which callbacks would work or feel redundant. In the end, we decided I should go second.
Was that after a lot of trial and error on the road?
Leggero: We would trade off. We always trade off when we tour together, though I really mean it when I say that I always just prefer to go first because Moshe’s really hard to follow.
Kasher: Don’t say that. I was giving her signals not to say that. Actually, I make her say that in every interview. But we were always ending it with us together on stage roasting other couples. After all, we were newlyweds when we started this.
Leggero: I mean, it’s called The Honeymoon Stand Up Special!
Kasher: We did two or three legs of the tour, and each time was a little bit more concrete than the last. We didn’t do it thinking we were going to turn it into a special, but once it started to look more and more like a finished thing, we spent more time crafting it so that it had this fun narrative running throughout it..
Writing stand-up is very different from most other forms of comedy writing. It’s often very insular. What was the writing process like for this show?
Leggero: We weren’t exactly writing everything together. We would watch each other’s sets and give notes or share comments. Different people have different ways of writing. Moshe has never kept any notebooks or setlists during all his years of comedy. He just comes up with things on stage, usually by improvisation, and remembers what works for later use. I’ve never met another comic who does that. Meanwhile, I’ll think of ideas, write out the jokes, try them out in front of audiences, and make adjustments as needed. We do it in different ways.
Kasher: It’s mostly like being on tour with any other comedian, someone you’re really close to and can share notes with. I think the more interesting aspect of our collaboration was crafting the story for the third act, which we decided to perform together in an almost Sonny and Cher kind of way. Natasha and I would wrestle each other over punch lines.
Leggero: We would fight over that sometimes. [laughs] I would get a joke one night and it would get a big laugh. When we switched off who did it and then Moshe wouldn’t get as big of a laugh, I would argue with him that it was because I knew how to say it better.
Kasher: Or vice versa. There were certain punch lines that one of us would try repeatedly and it wouldn’t feel right, so we’d offer it up. If there was a laugh there after switching, we’d stick with it. When you’re doing a two-person act, it’s all about character and power dynamics. Based on what the audiences told us, some punch lines just worked better coming from Natasha than they did coming from me.
Leggero: We would also come up with stuff on the spot. We were doing all of this improvisational stuff with the crowds every night, so things that worked really well from that would get added to show’s story.
Kasher: For pretty much 99 percent of the shows we did, something crazy or magical or funny would happen during the crowd work. I wish that third act could have been 10 episodes long. It’s just so much fun to roast people.
Not to mention get great reactions from them, like the older couple you quiz at the very end.
Kasher: I know! We were so grateful that he said that. We didn’t get a great ending during the first taping.
Leggero: We also learned from doing this show that, for some reason, asking the oldest married couple in the room questions is always funny.
Kasher: We had a pretty good gut feeling that for at least one of the tapings, we would get something funny.
It’s a great ending, though I’m sure it wasn’t just luck. Like you said, you taped multiple shows to get it just right.
Kasher: I mean, you’re right. You’re doing pretty much the same set twice, and taking the best reactions and rolling it all together for the special. But with the third act, it was like two completely different shows. We had no idea how they were going to turn out. Luckily, got some great responses and there are at least three or four couples whose bits were cut that were really funny.
Leggero: On the actual tour, I think we ended up having one couple that eventually got married and two others that ultimately divorced. Our therapy is real.
Kasher: Our therapy is really working, or not, depending on who you ask.
Leggero: Okay, I hear my baby crying.
Kasher: Perfect timing. Our baby’s right now crying, “Watch The Honeymoon Stand Up Special on Netflix on April 17th!” She just said her first words.
The Honeymoon Stand Up Special is now streaming on Netflix.