Despite its bustling streets and millions of people, New York has a reputation as a pretty lonely place. That can only seem more true to locals looking for love through online dating. Yet, for five years one live show has made that exasperating experience far more communal and hilarious: "Tinder Live!"
Since 2014, audiences have poured into Brooklyn’s Littlefield to see the show’s host and creator, Lane Moore, open up her Tinder screen to the whole room via a projector. Instead of choosing the profiles that most interest her, the crowd determines who should be passed and who deserves a swipe right. Lane then begins messaging her matches, with input on how she should steer the various conversations from the viewers as well as a panel of local comedians, performers and other notable locals.
“It’s so cathartic because online dating is so frustrating,” Moore told amNew York ahead of this Friday’s special 5th anniversary show. Moore, who is a stand-up comedian and author (“How to Be Alone”), believes that much of her show’s longevity has to do with the universal experience of using apps and sites to find love. “There’s so many bizarre profiles out there, and so many weird interactions," she explained. "Of course this [show] could sustain itself forever.”
Still, just because conversations get awkward, that doesn’t translate to Moore being cruel to her unsuspecting subjects. “One of the greatest strengths of this show is that it’s so kind,” Moore gushed. “Quite often there’s a guy who has an awesome personality.” The audience often roots for the guys, even if Moore, and her panel, are throwing weird curveballs into the conversation. The humor comes from the awkward miscommunications that plague online meet-cutes, flirty introductions that turn sexually charged very quickly and legitimately charming banter.
In the years since it began, Moore has taken "Tinder Live!" on tour. “I had this idea that I think a lot of New Yorkers have, that [online dating] is just a nightmare here, and you think it’s better everywhere else,” Moore said. “But it’s all the same everywhere.” While each city has its own unique Tinder flavors — according to Moore, one American town is particularly inundated with fish in men’s profiles, while Atlanta’s men seem to skew nicer than most (to a point) — every stop on the tour was filled with people experiencing the same Tinder dilemmas as those of us in Gotham.
Still, Moore loves bringing the show home to New York, where many audience members return month after month to enjoy the show again and again. At Littlefield, some regulars have even found romance IRL, off the dating sites, while enjoying the Tinder antics, and others have made lasting friends. “ I think because the focus is on love and connection, it’s kind of special,” Moore said. “It’s kind of crazy for a comedy show [to last five years], but I just think it’s because it has so much heart.”
‘Tinder Live! with Lane Moore: 5th Anniversary Show’ takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Littlefield, 635 Sackett St, Gowanus, littlefieldnyc.com, $15