Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Nathan Mosher is Injured
VENUE 4 - C ARTS | C digital - portal
Venue 21 - C ARTS | C aquila - studio
Aug 3-28, 18:05 Tickets
July 29, 2022
A compilation of jokes, poems, and songs about a breakup, breakdown, breakthrough, and everything in-between. In his debut solo show, Mosher chronicles a failed relationship, bipolar diagnosis, and a year-long breakdown and recovery. His true-life tale is told through stand-up, music, poetry. This well-rounded yet grounded storytelling extravaganza displays Mosher’s penchant for rhyme and rhythm, and the power of the spoken word to heal. A night of laughter, sorrow, reflection, and ultimately hope.
Hi Nathan, thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current, how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe & C Venues this summer?
I am a ball of many emotions right now, and I think the correct answer is “grateful above all, stressed beyond imagination, excited yet fearful, but most importantly filled with a deep sense of purpose and satisfaction at the fact that all these years later, I am still pursuing the same joy and authenticity that I once felt when watching Demetri Martin’s Perrier Award winning show “If I”, in the dark, in my room, next to my notebook of poetry and burgeoning set of jokes. I continue to write for the same reason I deciphered early on in my career, which was “Someday, someone will care, and that person will be you”.
The 16 year old me would be very proud, and he would be grateful, but he would by no means be able to handle the stress beyond imagination, the fear that comes with excitement, and the understanding and responsibility that taking on this journey of purpose requires. He would be grateful though, and that is what I am out here to honour.
Nathan Mosher is Injured is your debut show, are there any nerves ahead of your fringe run?
Absolutely, but what someone said early on to me was, “If you’re not nervous, you don’t care”. Tina Fey says that there’s a distinction between nerves and excitement, and it’s important to know the difference. My nerves and fear were a driving force during the first month and week in London, and they have passed into gratitude, excitement, and purpose. Unfortunately a comedian from Los Angeles that I started with that almost of all the community knew, took his life a week and a half ago, and that has breathed new purpose and meaning into my show. I am not nervous to deliver that message. I am nervous for other life struggles, such as the annoyingness of a long walk with a backpack on my back and lots of sweat, or the lugging of a heavy keyboard. I am not nervous for my show anymore by any means, because it is something I must do.
How have your previews been going in London?
As expected, the attendance was low, but the shows were fruitful. I learned a lot, got comfortable with the show again since doing it at the Orlando Fringe, and I am not going into the festival green. I also got a review that will be coming out during the beginning of the Fringe, which I am not sure about in terms of its quality, but regardless that was part of my mission. There were tons and tons of logistical mistakes I made in terms of lodging, marketing, planning, you name it, but it’s important that I made those mistakes.
Will there be many changes to the show for its fringe run or are you happy with it as it is?
I think the show will continue to evolve in minute ways, and the fun will continue to be found within its structure, but the narrative, the message, and the story cannot change because they have already happened. Only the framing and the lens in which I view the show can change, because my perspective on the experience will change. Jak Knight’s passing was one in which none of the content of the show changed, but the show itself changed immensely.
As a Californian what does Edinburgh Fringe mean to you and what do you hope to take away from your time at the fringe?
I don’t know if me being a Californian has much to do with the Fringe other than my distance and time, and money most of all changes how hard it is to participate in the Fringe. I will say starting out in Los Angeles though as a comedian could not be further from the spirit of the Fringe. Los Angeles is about getting famous, and the commodification of the artist for as much money as possible. The Fringe model is so much closer to what I stand for, which is more of a blank partnership between the business and the performer, which may or may not have its drawbacks, but at least I know that my creative can be maintained and I don’t have to make any compromises for this.
What have been the biggest challenges you faced bringing Nathan Mosher is Injured to the fringe?
I want to say logistics, but the show really tells the full story of what I’ve been through to get here. I’ve been dreaming about doing the Fringe since I was 17 and I really thought that I would do it immediately after graduating UCLA. I had it all worked out, I got a manager for comedy, went to study abroad in London so I could perform and stay long enough to see the Fringe, I would move to New York after graduating, hit it hard for a year, develop the hour then come to the Fringe at age 23.
Then I fell in love, had a mental breakdown, the world shutdown, and here I am. Really, when I put it in perspective, the admin and logistical errors I’ve made that might be extremely frustrating pale in comparison. For example, today I’ve realized that the photo I sent for the Fringe website is blurry because the pixel count was too low. Ugh, what an annoying realization, but honestly who cares, I’m doing the show and I’m living.
Can you tell me how Nathan Mosher is Injured came about, where did the inspiration for your show come from?
When I was 19 I saw a concert with my sister; a band called “Us the Duo”. They’re a married couple that does music together and they met through music.
They told the story of them falling in love, coming together, and making music together through their music, coupled with stories in between. They told the story of them becoming noticed for their music, and then announcing their first tour, and all of the strife and beauty that came with it. It ended with them on their first nationwide tour, that I was apart of. I didn’t know their music and I still don’t listen to them to this day. I went for my sister. Their story stuck with me though, because I had never seen a show where the story ended at the current moment.
I thought that telling the story behind the music was cool, but could I do that with jokes? Could I tell the story behind the jokes? What would that look like? And where would it end?
Well, it would end with me doing my show at the Edinburgh Fringe. I realized how big an undertaking that would be, and I started to examine the roots and storyline of me becoming a comedian. I saw all these threads and started to write material about it.
I started writing poetry in my notebook prolifically after my first real heartbreak my sophomore year of high school, and I originally thought that was the beginning, but when I twisted my ankle on my way to a gig out in Cheshunt, I realized that it was me getting injured when I was 12, throwing out my arm while a pitcher that set off a chain reaction.
I was first an academic superstar growing up, then started to become a star pitcher, and as I got into high school started to crave attention from girls. To me when I got hurt as a pitcher, it started to change my identity vastly, and it was also when I started to research becoming an orthopaedic surgeon, which I told people I’d be since I was 12. I kept getting hurt, got bullied, got cheated on, started writing poetry more, which gave way to an obsession with stand-up comedy, culminating in me entering a work shadow program to study surgery. It was here that I was inspired to chase my dreams by the founder of the practice, Dr. Osborne, who said, “If there’s anything you can picture yourself doing besides this, do that, because you can’t have any doubts about this because it’s one of the hardest things to do in the world. I’m great at it, because I love it.”
So I tried stand-up. Five years later I reflected on this whole story, and a FB post I wrote reached a comic from the Bay Area who I ended up talking about this journey with and falling in love with. Then we fell out of love, I went through a breakdown, came out of it, learned about myself in the deepest way possible, and voila I had a one man show.
And I knew it was going to be called, “Injured” because I knew that at age 22 when I twisted my ankle. I just didn’t know quite how broken I’d become not just physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Thankfully, I was put back together again through the amazing support of so many wonderful people. You’ll have to watch the show to see how that happened.
"Writing used to be my only way. Now it is just the way I am best suited to teach others the other ways that I have learned."
Did you have any apprehensions about making an autobiographical show?
I discovered at a writing camp when I was 17 that writing autobiographical stories can be dangerous because when you get critiques it feels like they’re judging you. It’s important to delineate what feedback is about structural pieces of something, and what is about the actual foundation or intention.
No one can judge the intention of this show, and I’ve seen the impact it’s had on people. Hell, one lady gave me 2000 dollars on the spot to continue doing the show. Nothing can invalidate what the show gave her, and I can’t put my finger on it, because it doesn’t do that for me anymore, it only did that for me when I wrote it.
I don’t have any apprehensions anymore, because it’s the only way to function as an artist. It’s the only way to continue really, to recreate the self and be as authentic as possible.
To me, a poet (an artist) is a journalist of the internal, and so it is our jobs to keep journalistic integrity and be as truthful as possible.
Have you found it been cathartic?
To write it, yes. To do the show and hear other’s stories, continue to grow the community of those seeking shelter from the cold world outside, that is catharsis greater than anything I can do on my own.
I’ve learned as the show has gotten further and further away from who I am now, as I am evolving and the show is set in the past, that its function is simply a way to spark conversation and connection. That is the next leg of the journey.
What would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have taken from creating this show and what have you discovered about yourself during this whole process?
I want to make a living at my art. This used to mean making money from my art, enough to live. Fortunately, if you are crafty, living is very cheap. Creating a life however, takes much more than just the bare essentials.
Now I am simply focused on making a life. Art is a way, but there are so many other ways. Writing used to be my only way. Now it is just the way I am best suited to teach others the other ways that I have learned.
Have you always had a passion for comedy and music?
Poetry was my first love. Comedy became a way to detach and tune out, and to make it through. It was also a way to get girls.
A friend in high school said one time after seeing me with a girl, “Oh, I get it. You get the girls with that awkward charm. That’s wassup.”
I became obsessed with comedy when I was 16 because of the puzzle of it. I loved Demetri Martin, who saw jokes as fractals. I was a math whiz as a kid and had a book on fractals when I was 6, and was learned algebra in 5th grade with a group of kids that for one hour a week would get put with another teacher to teach us advanced math.
Now I’m obsessed with chess, and I’ve always been obsessed with strategy games. So comedy just took hold of that competitive algorithmic academic brain and gave me a way to combine that with writing, which I’ve always had in my life. It felt like sports too because it was competitive, at least in LA.
I grew up playing piano, which I took 10 years of classical lessons for. After I stopped I would still learn sheet music and eventually Billy Joel, whose songs I got a whole book of sheet music for as a gift from my dad. I always wanted to sing as well as play, I just couldn’t figure out how to juggle the two and it seemed really complex. I would sing all the time by myself and in the car though.
When I went through a breakup in college, my dad said my voice sounded better (clearly because it had more emotion in it), and then I started experimenting with singing and playing together. The first song I learned was “Same Drugs,” by Chance the Rapper.
Then I started trying to listen by ear and figure out chords and arrangements and such.
Has your style and the approach to your work changed much since you started out?
Tremendously, you can watch a video of me at the Talent show still on Youtube and see the difference. It was one-liners and I was detached. I was an asshole on stage too because I saw Anthony Jeselnik be cocky and tell jokes and I thought it would be a way to cover up my appalling nervousness.
Do you have any advice, tips or suggestions you would offer fellow musicians?
You can’t be anything by doing. You can only be by being. Don’t try to do your way into becoming, it will simply lead you to breaking every single little fraction in your body, mind, and soul as you try to contort yourself into the thing that you are not.
And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from Nathan Mosher is Injured?