'Are You Afraid Of The Dark', Revisited by Comedian Lane Moore

The comic behind 'Tinder Live' talks about Nickelodeon's 90s scarefest.

It seems lately as if New York-based comedian Lane Moore is absolutely everywhere. She’s the Sex & Relationships editor at Cosmopolitan, a veteran of The Onion and McSweeney’s, and probably most famous for her monthly comedy show Tinder LIVE at The Bell House. Oh, and she’s also in this week’s episode of Girls. One of the many projects she’s taken on is recapping episodes of the 90s Nickelodeon scare-fest Are You Afraid Of The Dark wherein Canadian teenagers told spooky stories that require the absolute cheapest monster designs to pull off.

I talked to Moore about our mutual obsession with this weird dumb thing and whether dating is like a horror show..

Lane Moore, I was introduced to you on Twitter a few years ago because I recorded a podcast about the 90s Nickelodeon horror romp Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and people came out of the woodwork to let me know another comic was already making ENGAGING CONTENT in that space. Tell me about how your podcast Are You Afraid Of The Snark? came to be.

I’ve been obsessed with that show since I was a kid and it was basically one of the only positive things I remember about my childhood. A few years ago, I went on my friend Sharon Spell’s podcast and I was talking to the producer after about how if I was going to do a podcast it would definitely be about Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and it would have other comedians and people from the show on to riff over the episodes. The producer loved the idea and we made it right away. And in pretty much every episode it’s very clear I do not love the show ironically.

What are your memories of the show from when you were a kid, or did you have any? I’m gotten to introduce this show to a lot of adults who lacked the kind of flawless upbringing normally associated with AYAOTD.

Like I said, AYAOTD was definitely one of the only bright spots in my childhood, so all the memories I have of it are otherworldly. I just remember it terrifying the hell out of me every time but there was no more depressing feeling for me when that half hour ended. I just loved the hell out of like 99% of the episodes because I love horror, I love suspense, and I loved being terrified by fiction. Still do.

Lane Moore. Photo by Mindy Tucker.

Do you have a favorite episode and a least favorite episode?

As a kid I loved the episode with the creepy goth kid who lived at that weird old house and stole the youth from the visiting family and made that little girl get zits before it was her time to get zits. Mostly because I had a slight crush on the goth kid. We did this episode on the podcast and my love for it had not aged a day (no pun intended, but oh well it’s there now.)

As a kid, I had no idea why they threw the sand (?) on the fire or what was in that magic bag that made the fire change color and display bad fonts. Do you have idea what that substance is?

Brock, that’s magical cooling sand and everybody knows it. And I looooove that font.

A young Ryan Gosling on AYAOTD.

I also have a very vivid memory of bringing an AYAOTD audiobook in for Halloween in second or third grade and begging my teacher to play it. She thought it would be like a “Monster Mash” style joke thing, but it turned out to be a chilling story about a child alone in a house being stalked by a slowly shifting monster — with very elaborate sound effects. Two kids asked to be excused to the nurse’s office with “tummy pains” before my teacher finally shut it down. I tried to find the tape before we did this interview to share with you but they are so long gone that there’s a Reddit thread trying to procure them from the Library of Congress.

Oh my god, do you want to pool our life savings to try and buy it from some mom who has no idea she has this in her garage?

Do you think the time is right for a reboot? Who should be the showrunner and what kind of cast do you see? Me, personally: I always saw the It setup where these storytelling kids all reunite as adults because the stories they told as kids are haunting them, and in retelling the stories they realize the stories have grown up too and are much more violent and sexual now.

I’m not much for reboots. They can be good, but this show was just so of its time and everyone involved was just so perfect and Canadian. I wouldn’t be down if they brought it back. Plus, I can watch the old eps as much as I want now anyway.

Lane Moore. Photo by Mindy Tucker.

Lane, you run a show called Tinder Live out of New York. You’ve had huge guests, including the cast of Orange Is The New Black come out for this. I managed to make it through the dating game without ever loading up Tinder, but in my head that’s where all the modern horror stories live. What’s your all-time worst Tinder experience?

I legit walked out on a date not long ago because he told me Nicki Minaj wasn’t empowering to women because her ass was big. There were plenty of other reasons too but that one was like, “And scene.”

For the sake of Good Journalism, you spent your Valentine’s Day last year at a Brony Convention and fell in love. How close was this story to being one of the less-scary more-bizarre episodes from AYAOTD? or should we avoid angering the furry crowd?

I had such a blast at that fest, man. Nerds are my favorite. I had a Buffy scrapbook growing up and Are You Afraid Of The Dark stuff everywhere. I love to love things, so those were my people even though I’m not big on MLP yet.

What are your thoughts on this?

He’s taking a long time to scarily creep up that banister and I feel he is going to fall.

Finally, as the rockstar multi-instrumentalist frontwoman of It Was Romance — your band that’s been praised by everyone from Pitchfork to Buzzfeed — you’ve proudly worn your influences on your sleeve. Depending on the season of AYAOTD there is usually five or six kids around the campfire. In Lane Moore’s dream lineup (this includes living and the dead), which musicians would join your campfire for the perfect night of spooky storytelling?

Fiona Apple, Selena, Stevie Nicks, Sam Phillips (the woman not the man), The Cranberries, Missy Elliott. I’d keep listing if I could. Now I want this.

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