What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Mitch Hedberg died

I am a big fan of stand up comedy. When I was a kid MTV had a show call Half-Hour Comedy Hour. My brothers and I always watched it and it was hilarious. When I got old enough I started going into Houston to the Laff Stop to get the live show. Well, I say I was old enough. A friend of mine and I devised a plan to get me into the Laff Stop, because you had to be 18 and I was but a lad of 17. The plan was a simple one. Hope they don't ask for my I.D., or hope they really didn't care. Viola! It worked and it worked again and again, until I eventually did turn 18. But that first time I will always remember because a comedian was headlining that night that I was lucky enough to get to know before he became uberfamous. His name was Mitch Hedberg and he was hilarious. He was a genious with one liners, peppered with a stoners drawl and contented smile that not only made what he said funnier, but made you genuinely like him, unlike the typical, "I a jerk, deal with it," comedian. What I liked about Mitch was that he seemed to genuinely be a nice guy. A very high, very drunk, very nice guy. I went back to see him again a couple of times, and one time, to my annoyance (and everyone else in the club) he brought along some friends. Instead of having the semi-funny, decent locals open for the headliner, Mitch, he had brought his own entourage for a night called Mitch Hedberg and Friends. The bill included a loud, obnoxious, drunk chick, one decently funny guy (who I remember nothing about) and the creme de la poo; this stringy-haired hanger-on, who had to be strung out on smack, or something. He had long, greasy, hair and was thinning on the top of his sweaty head and the worst part: he was not funny at all! This is not all to berate his friends. Or at least not soley to berate them. It is to say that this guy was so nice that he was willing to put his own head on the chopping block to give his strung out, untalented friends, at least one shot at some recognition. Maybe to truly understand how big a risk this is you have to have a. been to the Laff Stop on a Saturday night and seen the type of quality comedians have played this world class club, and b. seen how angry that the crowd was that these guys were on stage. I mean, I felt so bad for the stringy haired guy. I've been to plenty of comedy clubs and have seen some stinkers, but nothing like this, and I've never seen a crowd turn against an opener like this either. I think that if you are going to a comedy club, there is an expectation that the first few guys are not going to be that funny. But, you did pay $20+ to get in and you want to at least chuckle. And you certainly don't want to be embarrassed for the guy.

But, I'm not writing this to talk about bad comedians I'm talking about a very good one, and a very nice guy: Mitch Hedberg. He died last week, supposedly from a heartattack that was no doubt a result of his lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol. It is very sad for me as I was a big fan. As a tribute here are some of his best trademark one-liners.

I got my hair highlighted, because I felt some strands were more important than others.

I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn't work. I felt pretty good for a while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.

I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Boy, you really like Tide."

I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that.

I love blackjack. But I'm not addicted to gambling. I'm addicted to sitting in a semi circle.

I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shish kabobs.

The thing about tennis is: no matter how much I play, I'll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They're relentless.

You know when they have a fishing show on TV? They catch the fish and then let it go. They don't want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.

I went to the park and saw this kid flying a kite. The kid was really excited. I don't know why, that's what they're supposed to do. Now if he had had a chair on the other end of that string, I would have been impressed.

I saw a human pyramid once. It was totally unnecessary.

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut.  To some skeptical friend, Don't even act like I didn't buy a doughnut, I've got the documentation right here... It's in my file at home. ...Under "D." For doughnut.

  It's very dangerous to wave to people you don't know because what if they don't have hands? They'll think you're cocky.

  I wrote a letter to my dad - I wrote, "I really enjoy being here," but I accidentally wrote rarely instead of really. But I still wanted to use it so i crossed it out and wrote, "I rarely drive steamboats, dad - there's a lot of stuff you don't know about me. Quit trying to act like I'm a steamboat operator." This letter took a harsh turn right away...

  Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Damn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Damn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right

  My friend said to me, "You know what I like? Mashed potatoes." I was like, "Dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you're going to quiz me you have to insert a pause."

If you had a friend who was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down a sidewalk, and he fell, that would be completely unacceptible...

  I bought a seven dollar pen because I always lose pens and I got sick of not caring.

My apartment is infested with koala bears. It's the cutest infestation ever. Way better than cockroaches. When I turn on the light, a bunch of koala bears scatter, but I don't want them too. I'm like, "Hey... Hold on fellows... Let me hold one of you, and feed you a leaf." Koala bears are so cute, why do they have to be so far away from me. We need to ship a few over, so I can hold one, and pat it on its head.

I opened-up a yogurt, underneath the lid it said, "Please try again." because they were having a contest that I was unaware of. I thought maybe I opened the yogurt wrong. ...Or maybe Yoplait was trying to inspire me... "Come on Mitchell, don't give up!" An inspirational message from your friends at Yoplait, fruit on the bottom, hope on top.

  You know they call corn-on-the-cob, "corn-on-the-cob", but that's how it comes out of the ground. They should just call it corn, and every other type of corn, corn-off-the-cob. It's not like if someone cut off my arm they would call it "Mitch", and then re-attached it, and call it "Mitch-all-together".

  I like buying snacks from a vending machine because food is better when it falls. Sometimes at the grocery, I'll drop a candy bar so that it will achieve its maximum flavor potential.

  My roommate says, "I'm going to take a shower and shave, does anyone need to use the bathroom?" It's like some weird quiz where he reveals the answer first

  I use the word totally too much. I need to change it up and use a word that is different but has the same meaning. Mitch do you like submarine sandwhiches? All-encompassingly...

YOU CAN SEE MORE at http://www.thedotdotdot.com/humor/hedberg.html


Jason said...

Oh man, I was on the floor laughing at those. Hedberg was great. I couldn't get enough of him and Lewis Black. I got to know Hedberg because of his appearance on "Comedy Central Presents" a few years ago. Great timing + absurd observations + spaced-out delivery = comic genius. When a friend of mine heard that he had died, he thought it was an April Fools joke. Hedberg will be missed.

ML said...

Oh my goodness those where absolutely hilarilous! I'm sorry that this comedian, whom I'd never heard of, died. But his jokes are really funny.
Kyle you write a good personal narrative about your visits to the Laff Stop. I didn't realize you went so much when you are an illegal 17 years old. :-0