Photo by Brad Barket
Trevor Moore– a founding member and leader of the popular sketch comedy group, The Whitest Kids U’Know– is solo now and has his own special on Comedy Central. Trevor’s debut solo album, “Drunk Texts To Myself” received rave reviews in 2013, and now you can watch Trevor’s new special “Trevor Moore: High in Church” this coming Friday night on Comedy Central at midnight. This is not your standard stand-up comedy special. Yes there will be stand-up, but there will also be singing, a full band, some digital shorts, and even dancing girls, plus several major guest appearances.”High in Church” was recorded at the Grammercy Theater in New York City. The special will be available for digital download on most streaming services starting March 10th.
The IBang: Your new one hour special on Comedy Central, High in Church, is so unique because it’s really a musical comedy production. When did you start combining stand-up and music? How did that come about?
Trevor Moore: Music is a big part of my life. My parents were Christian rock singers in the ‘80s, so I grew up on the road, on tour busses and stuff. So, music was always a big thing in my life. When I was doing The Whitest Kids U’Know TV show, I would always write two or three comedy songs a season and they would be put into a show. That was always one of my favorite things to do. I really liked going off and writing these songs. After five seasons, when we were wrapping up the show, I kind of went over to Comedy Central and said, ‘You know, I have all of these songs that I write, would you guys be interested in putting them out?’ They said they would, so I put out an album called Drunk Texts to Myself, in 2013. They liked that, so they said I could do another one and they would give me a TV special to go with it. So, I started writing for this special, but, I think I’ve just always written these things. I’m psyched that Comedy Central is chill enough to put them out.
The IBang: Not only is the special unique because of your singing, but you have a full band with back-up singers and dancing girls, and you also have these really well produced high-end videos that go along with it. Do you have a preference between the sketches and the live performance?
Trevor Moore: No, this sounds like a cop-out, but it’s the truth, I actually like them equally. They both have their pluses and drawbacks. What is cool about shooting videos is that they are more permanent, they exist for a long time. And you have the time to really tinker with them and get them just right. You can sit and edit them and say, “this is going to work, but let’s change that.” Live, you just have one take at it. So that is kind of terrifying but also more rewarding because if something is going well there is a connection with the audience. It’s instant feedback. They are both great in their own different ways. Which is why the special was so fun to do, because it was a mixture of everything. I have a very short attention span, it’s hard for me to sit through a concert – even of someone that I love. It’s hard for me to sit and watch someone perform for an hour. So, one of the things that I wanted to do with this special was have it feel like a music video where we’ll shoot videos for every single song. Then when the people are watching it at home it’s going to cut back and forth between my live performance and the music video. My live performance will really just feel like it’s part of the music video. So that was the goal.
The IBang: That really was one of the coolest things. In Drunk Texts to Myself, for instance, you’re singing along and the video is going in the background and it’s all cued up. Plus the live band, and the interaction, it was really impressive and different.
Trevor Moore: Thank you. Doing those performances really was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I tour around and perform in kind of the same way, but I don’t usually perform with a full band and background singers and confetti canons and dancing girls. It was really, really fun. I had the time of my life.
The IBang: I don’t know if I should give away all of the surprises, but you also have some really amazing special guests appearances throughout the show. That must have been a big thrill.
Trevor Moore: Yeah, Dave Foley! That was a kind of amazing for me because I always looked up to The Kids in the Hall so much. The fact that he was down to come and do a cameo was really kind of crazy. Is that the person that you didn’t want to give away? [laughing]
The IBang: Well, yeah, Dave Foley and you also have Reggie Watts…
Trevor Moore: Reggie was awesome because when we recorded that song, the whole thing is him beatboxing. He just showed up in the recording studio with his sampler and then just plugged a few things in and just made that in like 20 minutes, which is just insane. He is so talented.
The IBang: That’s unbelievable. He’s one of the most fascinating men on the planet. What he does, is just so crazy.
Trevor Moore: Yeah, and one of the nicest, which is awesome. Because, he’s talented enough that he doesn’t need to be that nice.
The IBang: Two of the videos from the special, High in Church and Kitty History, are very different concepts, both really amazing. Where does the idea for these videos come from?
Trevor Moore: With Kitty History, I’m a big fan of conspiracy theories, just all across the board, not even that I believe all of them, but I just love conspiracy theories. One day, I was sitting down and started to think, ok let’s take the ones that I do believe, the ones that are provable in some way, the ones that have easily Google-able facts. Let’s take those and put them in a line and see if I can connect the dots between them. And it actually makes a linear story. You can go from point A to point B. In the song we go from the JFK assassination all the way to 9/11, and there is a direct line that makes a story. Then I thought, can I put this all in a song and make it rhyme, and I did, but it wasn’t particularly funny. Then I started thinking, well what if I use the juxtaposition of taking this really dark and kind of depressing song and putting it to a surf-pop Beach Boys tune. So, I did that and that was kind of funny. Then at the end, I was like, oh wait and what if it was kittens! So that was the final piece. Once I laid it all out using multiverse theory where there has to exist a planet where everything happened exactly like ours, except the only difference is that everyone is a kitten, then all of a sudden it was really funny.
The IBang: I love that the cats are the after thought and not the original inspiration. A lot of the songs in the special really do focus on some of the most divisive topics: politics and religion. Do you like to push buttons, or will our country finally be united because of your videos?
Trevor Moore: I think that’s just where my headspace is at. Those topics and issues are just what I think about, a lot. I never set out to say, oh let me talk about this because this is an offensive subject. It’s just sort of, I’m thinking about something and then I think, oh this is a funny angle on that topic. Then I write it up and sometimes I realize that oh, I’m really not supposed to talk about this, but as long as it’s funny, it’s fine. When you view it all together, people will be like, wow you really went into a bunch of hot button issues on this, and that’s when I realize that I did. It’s never the intention, it’s just kind of where my head goes.
The IBang: Do you think that has a lot to do with your childhood and growing up with your family, or is this what you and your friends sit around talk about?
Trevor Moore: I think it heavily has to do with my upbringing. Throughout Whitest Kids and my music I always seem to return to history, politics, and religion. I’ve noticed that about myself and my writing. I grew up in rural Virginia. We grew up on Civil War battlefields, like you’d go out in the woods and they still had the trenches that you’d just play in. My grandfather and I would go out with a metal detector and find sword handles from the Civil War. A lot of my uncles were Civil War reenactors. History was a very big thing in my family. Then I grew up on a tour bus and it was very religious and there was a lot of politics. These were the things that we talked about. I went to a Christian school five days a week and then on the weekend we’d go to church, or I’d be on the road with my parents and going from church to church. Those are the things that were ever-present in my life, so I think that’s why I keep returning to those topics when writing. It’s just what I think about.
The IBang: Surrounded by that kind of childhood, growing up on a Christian tour bus, were you still the funny kid growing up?
Trevor Moore: I was, I was the class clown. But, I think a lot of it was when you’re on the road you are in a different city every night and you’re a kid and you want to play with other kids. You don’t have any of your friends on the road, it was just me and my sister and parents and a nanny. So, you roll into town and your parents are setting up the show and if you’re lucky maybe the pastor or the people running the venue have a kid that is your age, so you have to make fast friends. I think being funny is a way to do that, hey do you want to be friends? Like me! Then you’re off and you never see the person again.
The IBang: The other thing that really struck me, during High in Church, is that you’re a really good musician. Do you ever just sit and write non-satirical songs?
Trevor Moore: I’ve written a couple of songs that are not funny, but, I don’t have any intention of ever doing anything with them. It’s like, I’ll write that and get it out of my system and then it’s like, let’s get back to doing the other stuff. Get back to work. If I’m writing something that is serious, that’s when I feel stupid. Because I’m like, who do you think you are? Who gives a shit about what you think?
The IBang: After performing with The Whitest Kids U’Know for so many years, is it a little vulnerable to be up on stage on your own?
Trevor Moore: I like it, but it’s also scary because when you’re doing sketch if something doesn’t go over well you can just be like, well, you bombed too. It wasn’t me that bombed, it was all of us. You can deflect it. When you’re doing something by yourself, if they don’t like it, then that’s a couple of extra drinks that you have to take that night.
Trevor’s special “Trevor Moore: High in Church premieres Friday March 6, 2015 on Comedy Central at Midnight et. You can follow Trevor @iTrevorMoore on twitter.