Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Late, Great Mitch Hedberg

Recently, I purchased Mitch Hedberg's Comedy Central CD Mitch All Together. The CD came out in 2003 and, unfortunately, Hedberg passed away in 2005. Before his death, he was the college comedian. Think of Dane Cook without the overexposure and mainstream appearances.

Hedberg's style was a redefinition of the term "stoner comedy". His stand-up had him as the stoner and the audience as the sober element. Hedberg had a lot of nonsequitors and actually told jokes, and not the stories with a punchline that most modern comedians use now. Like Steven Wright before him, Mitch was more like one line, one joke. One of my favorite jokes is his commentary on gambling: "I am not addicted to gambling, I am addicted to sitting in a semicircle." He is not for young kids, as he does swear, but the comedy isn't reliant on it. He uses the words to punctuate the humor, not bring the laughter.

He also had an acting career, with appearances on That 70's Show and in the movie The Lords of Dogtown. The roles were basically extensions of his on-stage persona, playing the stoner. I believe that if he had lived, he would have become more and more mainstream. It would have been interesting to see if he could have capitalized on his growing popularity. He was notoriously shy in real life, so who knows if he wanted to be on movie posters?

Unfortunately, he did die, due to drug related problems. Here is an article on Mitch by EW. It is very accurate to describe Mitch as the Kurt Cobain of comedy. Both lived fast and died young. Both had an impact on the younger generation. Hopefully, Mitch has the long lasting impact that Kurt continues to have.

Now excuse me, I am going to give my CD another spin.


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