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About Mortified

What Is It?

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ye olde dreck live audience horrifying comedy

Hailed a "cultural phenomenon" by Newsweek and celebrated by This American Life, The Today Show, The Onion AV Club, Entertainment Weekly and beyond, Mortified is a comic excavation of the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids.

Witness adults sharing their most embarrassing childhood artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, plays, home movies, art) with others, in order to reveal stories about their lives. Hear grown men and women confront their past with tales of their first kiss, first puff, worst prom, fights with mom, life at bible camp, worst hand job, best mall job, and reasons they deserved to marry Jon Bon Jovi.

The largest and longest-running project of its kind, there are lots of ways to enjoy Mortified:

  • STAGE. Mortified Live is the heart of what we do-- a grassroots series of events where adults share their childhood writings/art/media in front of total strangers. We have chapters in many cities nationwide, including a non-English speaking chapter in Sweden.
  • FILM. Mortified Nation is an independent documentary that captures Mortified events in cities across the country. The film marks the first time our stage show can be shared, in all its awkward glory, with people no matter where they live. Fall 2013.
  • TV. The Mortified Sessions is an offbeat interview series on Sundance Channel, where we sit down with pop culture personalities and discuss the embarrasing things they created as kids.
  • BOOKS. We've published two anthologies with Simon & Schuster. The latter, Mortified: Love is a Battlefield, is themed around romance.
  • WEB. is where fans can find out upcoming events, join our mailing list, email us or watch our online videos.

The project began in the late 1990s when Dave Nadelberg unearthed a notably awkward love letter and began sharing it with friends. Formalizing as Mortified in 2002, with Neil Katcher joining soon after, the project has since sifted through thousands of otherwise forgotten notebooks, photos, and envelopes in an effort crack the lid off our cultural shoebox and expose our inner geek. Participants include a wide range of people, from professional performers (comics, actors, singers) to total amateurs (architects, ad execs, salesmen) all in the noble pursuit of personal redemption through public humiliation.

There are a million stories buried in the pages of people's lives. Mortified's mission is to simply help people find them. Share the shame.


  1. UNEARTH. You dig up some embarrassing childhood artifacts (old letters, lyrics, journals, cassettes, artwork, plays, etc)
  2. CONTACT. You request a producer's session on our site's "participate" section
  3. EXCERPT. We meet up and help you find excerpts to share on stage
  4. FRAME. Once we find enough excerpts, we help you frame them with a context that reveals a personal story
  5. SHARE. You share the results on stage
  6. IMPACT. Someone in the audience returns home, inspired to unearth their own childhood artifacts