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She Swipes Right on Tinder, and Everyone’s in on the Joke

Ms. Moore makes it clear that she wants to avoid “a mean show,” and works hard to avoid mocking the men she talks to, although some are asking for it. After catching the crowd up with what happened to people she talked with online during the last show (she will keep in touch with some afterward), Ms. Moore starts sifting through profiles, examining photos and asking the audience if she should swipe right (signaling interest) or left (rejection). She lingered on Timothy, who reported, “I’ll buy you a pizza if you let me touch your butt,” and a 24-year-old with an instrument in the background. “A guitar?” she asks with wide eyes. “Almost no guy in Brooklyn has that.”

When she swipes right and he does so as well, the crowd cheers and the real scene begins. She narrates her own responses while typing them, often in the character of a whiny, clueless fool. Her typical approach is to begin with a big hello (“heyyyyyyyyyyyyy”), move aggressively into flirtation, disarm with a thudding double entendre or a confrontational question and then end with a GIF that raises far more questions than answers. Some men don’t respond. Others appear baffled. Some answer with earnestness, and while the show does have moments of warmth and genuine connection, these are the ones she abandons fastest.

When the conversation slows down or becomes too chummy, Ms. Moore shifts characters into the intensely needy girlfriend who is dramatically disappointed in a benign response. Playing a cartoon version of what a shallow man most hates — engagement, political passion — she smuggles in social critique, but Ms. Moore might be most deft at drawing people out. In one show I saw a few months ago, when a guy expressed an interest in psytrance music, she repeatedly asked him to explain to her what it was all about. “Tell me more about psytrance” became a come-on and punch line.

Photo

Ms. Moore makes it clear that she wants to avoid “a mean show,” and works hard to avoid mocking the men she talks to.

Credit
Hilary Swift for The New York Times

The shows vary in quality (I’ve seen four) and her quick and loose approach can lead to jokes that don’t land. But when Ms. Moore hits the right rhythm, “Tinder Live” has a comic momentum and energy that is unusual. What usually tips it over is one truly game guy who seems to be in on the joke. This allows Ms. Moore to move from riffing to building a character, a relationship and even a scene. At its best, “Tinder Live” feels like a sketch show.

It did last month when she met Roger. The discussion started with small talk about design, then got serious fast when she launched into a dark confession about never leaving her basement that culminated with this attention-getter. “I’m alone and nude and I have crackers,” she said, adding: “Do you like crackers?”

The audience didn’t wait long before Roger volleyed back: “I have so many crackers I don’t know what to do with them.”

Her face lit up; Ms. Moore hit the jackpot. “I like this one,” she said, as she plotted her next moves. Speaking in a slightly unhinged voice, she became more aggressive, making herself the target of the joke. At one point, she used the phrase “sexual crackers.”

Once Roger sent her a GIF of a cowboy riding a cracker in the Wild West, Ms. Moore put on the brakes, responding sternly and referring to another man on Tinder, seeming to put an end to this romance. Then after a long pause, she changed gears again, typing: “[pssst: Now chase me].”

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