Since The Whitest Kids U’Know series ended in 2011, Trevor Moore has mostly been touring the country and playing his wonderful brand of comedy music. On Friday night, the fruit of his labor will be on full display in the hilarious new Comedy Central special, “High in Church,” which features a combination of his original songs and new sketches that include appearances from his fellow Whitest Kids. The son of former Christian folk singers, Moore has a very colorful take on religion and that is quite evident in this new special. From a very upbeat and detailed history of circumcisions to a ballad that chronicles the rise of the gay marriage orgypocalypse, Moore’s at the top of his game in this special that airs tomorrow at midnight. Also, his song about YouTube commenters is probably already my favorite thing of 2015.
But while he’s promoting “High on Church,” there’s still some unfinished business that needs to be discussed: What’s up with that Whitest Kids movie we’ve been hearing about for two years? Fortunately, Moore filled us in on that and everything else that went into creating his new special.
“High in Church” isn’t like most comedy specials. What goes into preparing for something this big and unique?
I have a short attention span, so I wanted to a special where we were constantly jumping back and forth between brand new video segments and live performances. And even in the live performances, I wanted to do something where there was stuff on the screen behind me. I wanted it to feel as much like The Last Waltz as possible. I recorded and performed all of these songs in the studio, but this was the first time that I was able to perform it all with the full band, background singers, and dancers at the same time.
It was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work in the sense that we had to record the new album, shoot all of the music videos, and then do the live performance. It was a lengthy process, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Have you ever actually been high in church?
I went to a private Christian school, but I’ve never actually been high in church because I think that would just be terrifying. It’s a story that happened to my friend, Sam Brown from The Whitest Kids U’Know, and I thought it was hilarious. He was home for Christmas and getting high with his friends, and then Midnight Mass happened, and he forgot that he had to do that.
When you’re rounding up backup singers and musicians and planning out each part of the show, do you worry that it’s too much and might not go as planned?
Absolutely. You’re constantly worried that it’s not going to work. We had two performances, an 8 o’clock and a 10 o’clock, so we had two chances to get it right. We had rehearsed, but right before I went on stage it was probably the most nervous that I had ever been in my life. But then on the first performance, we actually got through everything as planned. There was a giant sigh of relief afterward, so the second one was a little more fun because we knew that we had the first one in the bag.
Did you already have a good deal of knowledge about circumcisions? Because I feel like I learned a lot just from “God Hates the Tips.”
I was writing that song and I told one of my friends, and he was really excited and told me that I had to look up “Metzitzah B’peh.” That’s crazy. I didn’t know about that and I was like, that’s the main part of the song because that’s just such an insane practice.
With your religious background, and your parents being former Christian folk musicians, do you get a lot of backlash from friends and family when you have material like this?
Yes, but it was earlier, like when The Whitest Kids U’Know first came out. I would get a lot of heat from my parents about the content that we would do, but as time has gone on I’ve gotten less. I feel like it’s because maybe they’ve given up on me [laughs], but probably because at this point it’s not directed at them individually. It’s just that religion and politics are things that I always come back to and think about a lot. They’re things that I like to write about a lot, so they’re recurring themes because they were a huge part of when I was growing up.
At the same time, strangers on the internet aren’t nearly as forgiving. Do you worry about people being offended over random jokes and going after comics on Twitter?
Fuck ‘em. People are always going to be offended. There’s plenty of comedy for everyone to be offended at.
When you were writing “High in Church,” or simply any material in general, do you have moments where you say, “I think that crosses a line?”
I never want to write something that’s just offensive for the sake of being offensive. It’s not my intention to go out there and hurt people’s feelings for no reason. That’s really not funny when people do that. I always try to have a point that I’m making, so as long I have a point and can back up the joke, I’m okay with it. I have to believe in what I’m saying.
When it comes to a sketch show and a comedy special, do you have a personal preference? Do you like being on a stage in front of an audience as opposed to a closed set?
I like both of them almost equally, but for completely different reasons. That’s why I had so much fun doing this special because it was a combination of the two. What I like about the pre-produced videos is that you have time to go in there and work on it, and really make sure that you’re happy with the final product. But performing live is just one of the best feelings in the world. You do something that makes people laugh and it’s immediate, it’s right there. You’ve built a connection with the room and you’re all going through this experience together.
Performing live is also terrifying because there’s not a safety net that’s there when you’re making pre-produced videos. You can screw up your lines or completely forget what you’re talking about. You can mess up a punchline or the audience can not be into it. When it works, it’s because there’s that fear of it not working.
There’s been chatter about a Whitest Kids U’Know movie for at least two years now. What’s the latest on that project?
There’s a story and there’s a good portion of the script. We start it and stop it, and start it and stop it, and we’re starting it again. We keep going back and rewriting parts of it, and it keeps getting better. It’s being worked on, but we’re being slow about it. I really like what it’s about and I think it’s really good, so we’ll see what happens with it and if it ends up being a movie, or if we do it as a show. But we are still working on it. I wish I could say what it’s about, but… I can’t.