Comedian’s of Comedy – Mitch Hedberg

You probably didn’t see Mitch Hedberg on TV that much besides the odd Letterman appearance every once in a while. He didn’t get his own sitcom. He didn’t really do movies either (besides small roles in ‘Almost Famous’ and ‘Lords of Dogtown’).

He has only a small body of work, including just 3 comedy albums. But Hedberg’s style and on-stage personality is so different, he’s worth checking out.

Not a household name by any means, Mitch Hedberg’s style of comedy is definitely an acquired taste, perhaps best described as ‘Steven Wright on speed’. Painfully shy on-stage, Hedberg performed most shows wearing sunglasses, with his hair dangling in his eyes which were often clamped shut. On occasion he would even turn his back on the audience, and if you really pay attention to clips of him you can see his hands shaking violently from nerves.

It’s a weird contrast; a stand-up comedian so obviously battling extreme nervousness but refusing to simply incorporate it into his act as many comic’s would. It’s one of the things that drew me to Mitch.

Hedberg was a genius at throwing out a series of non-sequiter bits that seemingly had no connection to each other whatsoever, but that all somehow contributed to the overall narrative of his show and persona.

And unlike many of my favorite comedian’s, Hedberg’s point of view really did seem to genuinely contain a sense of gentle optimism. For a man who battled a load of personal demons throughout his life (including cocaine and heroin addiction), he still managed to find a bizarre sense of joy in the world around him.

Tragically Hedberg was found dead in 2005 at the age of 37, after an overdose in a New Jersey hotel. To this day he still has a cult following. You can track down on numerous websites a Comedy Central TV Special he did in 1999, which is pretty damn cool. Of his albums I recommend checking out ‘Mitch All Together’ – it’s his most accessible and consistent piece of work, and just happens to be extremely funny.

Mitch may not have been saved by the buoyancy of citrus, but wherever he is you just know that he’s now finally a member of Club Sandwich.




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