Q: How can I participate in your stage shows?
A: Visit our “Participate” page. We do our best to meet with everyone who submits.
Q: I’m afraid to get on stage. How else can I participate?
A: Good news. There are lots of ways to part of the Mortified community. Help spread the word about The Mortified Podcast, follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or even intern/volunteer for our podcast (we always need help transcribing audio) and we hook you up with fun stuff in return. But to be honest, the SIMPLEST way to be part of our community is to simply dig up something from your past and share it with just one person (a roommate, a spouse, a sibling)– not only will you laugh but we promise you will learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Q: Can I launch a Mortified chapter in my city?
A: Since our stage show is curated, the #1 thing we need in order to launch a new city is the resources to train a team of local producers how we curate and offer them ongoing support from afar. That said, we’re a tiny organization with much tinier resources than you’d think, and a lot of work goes into what we do– so we’re careful not to overextend ourselves. Word of mouth from our fans is vital to us, so we’re passionate about ensuring that whenever we put on a show, that it lives us to their expectations.
If you’re interested, read our Beta cities page. The more emails we get about a certain city, the easier it is for us to prioritize that city for our next expansion. Just keep in mind that while we’d love to be in more cities, we don’t always have the resources to be everywhere.
Q: Why is Mortified not open mic?
A: Our show is curated for several reasons. Among those? The reality that 90% of the stuff people wrote as kids is simply not entertaining to strangers. Early on, we learned it’s more effective to have an outsider help select. The last thing we want is for someone to feel bad about baring themselves to a room of strangers– especially since they never wrote this material for a show like this– so we collaborate with every participant (sometimes spending up 10 hours with them in the weeks before an event) to help them comb through their pages and identify material that our audience will love.
Q: Is everything in Mortified real?
A: Yep. Our producers work with each participant to help them select excerpts from their actual childhood writings that reveal a story about their life. That’s the fun. In some ways, we look at it as “urban archeology,” digging up personal artifacts to create portraits of peoples’ pasts. (Or, as one admiring blogger once described what we do, “This is beautiful… in a dead bird kind of way.”)
Q: Are teenagers allowed to attend Mortified stage shows?
A: We love having teenagers at shows. That said, while WE have no age policy, some of our VENUES do. Some venues are 21+. Some are all ages. The BEST way for you to find out is to contact the venue directly or look for age info on their website.
Q: Are there age ranges for the material shared in Mortified?
A: We feature any material that someone wrote, drew, or recorded when they were young– usually from age 5-21.
Q: Why do you end each show (whether stage, podcast, TV) with the phrase, “we are freaks, we are fragile, we all survived?” And does that ignore teens who didn’t?
A: Although Mortified is a comedic show, it deals frequently with topics like shame, depression, self esteem and various aspects of mental health. The message at the end of our show has a deeply personal meaning to our organization, and over the years, we’ve been heartened to hear from countless audience members who’ve told us the expression has helped them during moments of limited self worth. Occasionally, we receive a question from someone who wonders about teenagers who took their lives. To be clear, our message exists precisely because of suicide and self harm, not in denial of it. We are speaking directly to those in our audience– the people listening or watching– and no one else. It’s very literal. Sadly, no one can change the fates of those who are no longer with us. What we can do however, is attempt to inspire those who are struggling with questions of self worth by providing them with a reminder of how far they’ve come. We hope people will take comfort in that. Just as we do.
Q: I’ve seen the show and would love to attend again. Will it be repeat material?
A: Each event is unique. It’s never the same lineup twice (exception: when there are back-to-back encore performances in the same week). While some participants do return to our stage, we usually a wait at least a year before bringing their material back in the same city.
Q: How does Mortified differ from other storytelling shows?
A: Mortified uses a very unusual set of tools (old Hello Kitty journals, beat-up notebooks, etc.) to convey its tales. The difference between our project and say, a traditional “lit salon” or storytelling event (such as our friends at The Moth), is that we’re using source material that was never created for our project and or to entertain our audience. Think of it as accidental art.
Q: Are you aware of the emergence of other journal-themed stage projects?
A: As Mortified has grown over the years, yes, we’ve noticed a few like-minded concepts sprout up. We’re even fans of some. That said, there are key differences that set our project apart. First, Mortified is curated. Second, each presentation is designed to reveal a true life story. Finally, we are the largest and longest-running project of its kind. While we think it’s great when people discover similar sources of fun, we encourage all artists to spend time developing how to make their project distinct from what’s come before. Just as we did when developing Mortified long ago.
Q: Can I do a Mortified-inspired show in my city?
A: You’re welcome to contact us and we’ll always consider it. That said, because our show is curated in a very unique way, we are pretty picky about when/how/where we launch new chapters. Mortified events are not quickly thrown together. Making a show that lives up to the standard that our audience expects takes a lot of work and training. And while we are ambitious, we are ultimately a tiny grassroots organization that has learned to not stretch ourselves too thin. Otherwise, we risk losing the positive word of mouth that brought people like you to us in the first place.
Q: Why do people want to share their childhood writings and art with total strangers?
A: It’s a healthy cocktail of curiosity, catharsis, self-deprecation, cajones and a desire to connect with a room full of strangers.
Q: Wait. I still have more questions!
A: Great. Contact us. We’re nice. We’ll do our best to respond very soon.
Q: Do you like me? Or do you like-like me?
A: We totally like-like you. You are a mega fox to the extreme.