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I am a stand-up comic. Before that, I was a drug counselor. Before that, I was a drug addict. Before that, I was 12.
March 8, 2011 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Comedian Mike DeStefano has died of a heart attack at 44. DeStefano told wrenching tales from his life as a recovering drug addict, like the MOTH monologue in the title link, which begins with a very bad day he had while caring for his wife as she was dying of AIDS (NSFW language).

Another monologue, Franny's Last Ride, recounts one beautiful day they shared while she was in hospice. More bad language, and may induce tears.

He could blend harrowing stories with humor and humanism. In this interview (start at 18:00) he talks more about his past, his wife, the Bronx, HIV, and his recovery from heroin addiction. He had recently achieved greater renown as a finalist on the show Last Comic Standing.
posted by itstheclamsname (24 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I enjoyed him on Last Comic Standing. Myq Kaplan, fellow LCS tour member, was telling stories about Mike on yesterday's Keith and the Girl episode (#1349: Six Years Down). Sounds like a really cool guy. Sad that his life ended so early.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:17 AM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


His interview on WTF with Marc Maron is really worth listening to.

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posted by timshel at 9:26 AM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


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I was so sad to hear this yesterday. His piece was one of the best pieces I've ever heard on the Moth. You get out of your own way, cast out your demons, make your way into the sunlight, and still, the world is the world, and it's not fair, but that's the way it is.

In between, we just gotta tell our stories, as best we can and as long as we can.
posted by sonascope at 9:30 AM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Om mani padme hum.
posted by aught at 9:36 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


so it goes...

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posted by schyler523 at 9:38 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. Nope. Ain't dead. Screw that.

I didn't know him. Had only heard him a couple of times. That was an amazing story. It has been said that death happens over time:

#1 When life leaves your body.

#2 When your body is buried, burned, or otherwise ceases to exist.

#3 When your name is spoken for the very last time.

I should be here another 30 years or so. So he has that much time left at least. Leave something behind people. Do/be/say something that lets you live forever.

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(for #'s 1 and 2 only)
posted by nickjadlowe at 9:40 AM on March 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


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posted by unwordy at 10:06 AM on March 8, 2011


I'm really sorry he died. I know he had HIV, and I also know many HIV meds have a substantial set of cardiac side effects. Just because meds can control HIV does not mean the disease isn't serious as hell.
posted by OmieWise at 10:07 AM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by Ink-stained wretch at 10:12 AM on March 8, 2011


World full of fake, insincere BS artists. Mike was not one of those guys. RIP, dude.

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posted by dbiedny at 10:28 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


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I didn't know about him before today. I watched a couple of those monologues. Devastating.
posted by kingbenny at 10:33 AM on March 8, 2011


Well, that's an attitude adjustment I needed. Thank you, sir.
posted by eegphalanges at 10:56 AM on March 8, 2011


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I was so sad to hear this. I liked him very much on Last Comic Standing. I didn't know he was on The Moth.
posted by sugarfish at 11:23 AM on March 8, 2011


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posted by MeiraV at 11:30 AM on March 8, 2011


JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WHY

i saw him a couple months ago at the comedy cellar where he was awesomely laid back and warm and weird. i saw him sitting outside before hand and walked by, gave him a nod, wanted to tell him how important and moving that story was to me. Didn't. Forever regret that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:36 AM on March 8, 2011


I first heard of him when one if his stories was featured on the Moth podcast, and I happened to listen to it while mucking out chicken coops at my part-time farm job. I was alternately laughing and crying as I shooed chickens around and scooped poop into a wheelbarrow. Moments after the podcast ended, a visiting school group came by and watched me from just outside the chickenwire enclosure. I felt so keenly aware of life from hearing that story, and I beamed out at them.

"Eww, who wants that job?" one well-coifed chaperone shrieked out.

I raised my hand. Then, so did a bunch of the kids.

It was one of the best days of that summer.
posted by itstheclamsname at 12:03 PM on March 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


Also, he was diagnosed with HIV decades ago. The fact that his heart gave out after beating that death sentence is really so goddamn tragic.

Fuck you death.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:53 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good appreciation in the Portland Mercury.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:16 PM on March 8, 2011


Mike DeStefano was one of my first introductions to The Moth. He was a fantastic storyteller. His death is very sad.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 1:22 PM on March 8, 2011


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I've only just started checking him out in the past year or so. Very sad to see such a talent go so early.
posted by p3t3 at 2:08 PM on March 8, 2011


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posted by RokkitNite at 3:29 PM on March 8, 2011


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posted by treyka at 10:22 PM on March 8, 2011


I just listened to that first linked Moth piece for the first time a few weeks back, and it was incredible. I was so moved I cried, sitting in my car, and I retold that story to a number of friends; it's that kind of story, true and hilarious and awful and sad and beautifully crafted.

"And I went home and I quit my job, and I said, 'I wanna be a fucking comedian...'"

This is a guy who got one kick in the face after another, and came out of it all more human than most people ever get. A loss for the rest of us.

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posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 11:15 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


A foul-mouthed bodhisattva from the Bronx: An interview with “Last Comic Standing” audience favorite Mike DeStefano
posted by homunculus at 11:02 AM on March 15, 2011


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