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'Mortified': An interview with Scott Lifton

Hailed a “cultural phenomenon” by Newsweek and celebrated by This American Life, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Wired, The AV Club, The Today Show, and beyond, Mortified celebrates the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids.";s:

Some live performances are poetic -- and some aren’t. Imagine the most embarrassing moment of your life. (Really, the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to you.) Now imagine standing on a stage in front of hundreds of strangers and telling them in detail about that time. That’s the concept behind "Mortified."

It’s a kind of tell-all performance art taking place in clubs across the U.S., where real people volunteer – in fact, they compete, and actually audition – to read from their personal, private childhood diaries. KALW's Ben Trefny stopped spoke with "Mortified"'s Bay Area producer, Scott Lifton, at the Make Out Room in San Francisco.


SCOTT LIFTON: You get the thrill of performing in front of a crowd. But there's also a kind of self-help, kind of catharsis that comes with the audience and the performer. They recognize the pains as their own and all the childhood experiences, everybody relates to it.

You can cringe for yourself at the next Mortified show later this month – it’s at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco on Friday August 14th and at The New Parish in Oakland on Saturday the 15th. Until then, check out the Mortified podcast


Click the audio player to hear the full interview.


This story originally aired on October 15, 2009.


Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.