I purchased How to Be Alone sometime last year when my partner and I were taking a break. I remember sitting in the bathtub tearing up, sinking in my bubbles, and tweeting to Lane Moore, the author of the book, that she was getting me through a rough time. I’ve never known how to be alone. I still don’t. I’m a serial monogamist, and even now, my partner (we reconciled six months later) is isolated here with me (like, right next to me). Yes, being alone is something I enjoy—on walks, at the grocery store, in the shower, for a few hours while writing—but overall, I’m a shit person without my buds, family, and lips to kiss. Moore’s book helped me gain some confidence in aloneness.
The award-winning comedian, writer, musician, and actor writes in her book, “I am working every day, tirelessly, like you wouldn’t believe, on being fine, fucking finally, can we get this over with, I’m so tired and I just want to travel and eat and smile and move through the world with a semblance of peace.” These words coincide perfectly with our world right now. Right now, if we are alone or together, we are working, working harder than ever before to remain afloat, to try and manage some sort of normalcy in a time when everything is twisted upside down and backward.
I had planned to either meet or phone-chat with Moore (who is based in New York) when she came to Chicago for her Tinder LIVE! tour. During the show, Moore pulls up her Tinder onstage and the crowd decides if she swipes left or right. Her scheduled Chicago dates were in April, but then the pandemic happened. So Moore had to get creative. At first, she was devastated. “So I thought wait, wait, there’s got to be a way to stay connected with my audiences, and be alone together right now, and still do live shows, because artists and audiences need each other,” she says. “Well, I literally wrote the book on how to be alone, and now I make my living doing live comedy and music, so I created this livestream show.”
Moore describes her livestream, How to Be Alone, as a “late-night show” where she talks about how she’s doing, how she’s feeling, and then opens up the chat to viewers. “Then we watch funny videos from the 50s/60s and I make jokes throughout them, like Mystery Science Theater,” she says. “Then we play an ’80s board game I have, Heartthrob, and the audience guesses who I’m gonna pick, which is a lot like Tinder LIVE! in that way. Sometimes I do Tinder LIVE! as well.” Moore ends her shows with a “musical guest,” where she covers songs in a karaoke-style performance of whatever artists she chooses (viewers can offer up suggestions, too). I had the pleasure of hearing Moore cover Fiona Apple’s “On the Bound”—she belted out a perfect pandemic tune that made one of the viewers say that they may consider becoming an Apple fan.
Moore’s band, It Was Romance, is releasing their second album this year so the livestream is a way for Moore to promote it. “And right now every show is donation based, either through Venmo, Paypal, or Patreon, so it’s really supported by the viewers,” she explains. Throughout the stream, the cha-ching noise from her Venmo goes off and Moore gleefully thanks her kind donors via video.
Though during the livestream it seems like Moore is simply chatting with an old friend, she does say some preparation is involved. “I choose the videos for the night, and the songs, and often will prepare to talk about a certain question people had on loneliness/isolation during this time, but the show is totally improvised otherwise, which is really fun.” And you can see the excitement Moore has when watching videos for the first time with her viewers. Improvisation is sort of Moore’s thing, it seems, as she gets a thrill from spontaneity.
What I especially appreciated as a viewer was how I could be invisible if I chose to be or I could enter the chat room (like the good ol’ AIM days) and chat with Moore’s fans if I was craving some Internet connections. Moore agrees. “Dude, the How to Be Alone viewers are so connected it’s magical.” Although she doesn’t get to directly participate in the chat because she’s performing, she thinks it’s exciting and special to watch her fan base grow and get to know one another at the same time.
Future shows for Moore may look different than these beginning stages. She may bring on video gaming, as Twitch is a platform typically used for gamers, and she may start up her idea for a children’s show called Strawberry Milk. But for right now, Moore is just trying to hang on. “Like most of us right now, it’s gonna take me a minute to get used to a completely new world,” she says. “I’m still grieving so much, and trying to help people through it who are grieving too. I’m trying to tell myself to just keep taking it one step at a time, but I’m really excited to see where the How to Be Alone livestreaming show can go.” v