Why you should care
When was the last time your laughs came with a side of history lessons?
Ah, passive aggression. It’s hard to explain why it’s so funny. Maybe it’s just that we’re just into abuse. And conflict avoidance. Whatever it is, Lost Moon Radio gets it. This dozen-actor-strong comedy ensemble uses music and humor to bring a millennial sensibility to life on stage and in podcasts. Their targets include not only contemporary politics and pop culture, but also characters from the well-worn mythology of American history.
Like their series imagining the interpersonal dynamics of the duo famous for opening the American West, Lewis and Clark. In their two years virtually alone together mapping hundreds of miles of terrain, there just had to be some friction between the explorers. After all, we know that traveling isn’t just striding boldly across rickety bridges. It’s not staring at an ocean and being awed by the magnificence that is life. Mostly, it’s your dad screaming at everyone to get back in the car, or your backpacking buddy explaining why he booked a three-transfer, red-eye train ride. As Lost Moon’s Lewis and Clark simmer with unconcealed irritation, you know — and I mean know, in your soul — that’s how the Lewis and Clark expedition really went down.
Instead of making millennials look apathetic, they portray them as righteously indignant …
If good comedy is about digging out the truth beneath conventional wisdom (and it is), then Lost Moon Radio’s own generation is just as rich a topic as the past. On Election Day last year, the troupe released “Maybe I’ll Vote This Year,” a sketch that strikes close to home for millennials who, it’s true, are not too into political action. And also we like Les Mis. We’re willing to talk about voting and the fact that we’re not doing it, but Lost Moon gets at something a bit more complex: Instead of making millennials look apathetic, they portray them as righteously indignant, yet still incapable of action.
The ensemble’s writers and actors met in college at Northwestern. “We were forged in the frigid cold of Lake Michigan,” explains Lonely Moon writer Frank Smith, 35. Five years ago, they banded together in Los Angeles to create a new kind of comedy show: musical sketches in the form of a radio show. “It’s a hot medium you want to get attached to,” wryly jokes another writer. Though the show started out small, it grew and eventually become popular enough to go on tour; Lost Moon made its New York City premiere in January to a packed audience.
In addition to making really funny jokes, the troupe writes and creates quality music. Lost Moon is really a synthesis of opposites: Most of the sketches are family friendly, even nostalgic, but the jokes themselves point a sharp stick at an era — and a generation — that could use a firm jab to attention.