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March 30, 2015 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Comedian Mitch Hedberg died 10 years ago today. He was known for his distinctive style of delivery and short, often absurd jokes.

In addition to his stand-up, Hedberg had a number of small roles in "Home Movies", appeared twice as himself in "Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist", and once on "That 70s Show."

More standup:
Comedy Showcase 1995
On Letterman, date unknown
Just for Laughs 1998
Just for Laughs 2001
Just for Laughs 2004
posted by palindromic (93 comments total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
 
I still want to be a race car passenger.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I used to miss Mitch. I still do, but I used to, too.

.
posted by a halcyon day at 6:14 PM on March 30, 2015 [166 favorites]


Saw this post from Emerald City Comicon this weekend and immediately thought of Mitch.
posted by gc at 6:15 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that's extra scary to me. There's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run, he's fuzzy, get out of here.


.
posted by frijole at 6:22 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I miss Mitch so much that we do need to bring ink and paper into this.
posted by bleep at 6:24 PM on March 30, 2015 [16 favorites]


My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, and I said no, but I want a regular banana later, so... yeah.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:26 PM on March 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


*Looks slightly to the left*
posted by dazed_one at 6:27 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wish Mitch had been saved by the buoyancy of citrus.

.
posted by butterstick at 6:28 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't have a microwave oven, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.

I think of this line every time I cook something in my kitchen clock.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:29 PM on March 30, 2015 [33 favorites]


Truly, one of the all-time greats.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:30 PM on March 30, 2015


Also, my car doesn't have an emergency brake. It does have an emergency "make car smell funny" lever.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:30 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


My favorite thing to say about him is that Mitch isn't lost, he just took the wrong exit off the high way.
posted by Catblack at 6:31 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


.
posted by officer_fred at 6:32 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I was a boy, I laid in my twin size bed and wondered where my brother was.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:32 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just discovered that his movie is on Youtube now...
posted by neat graffitist at 6:33 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have probably thought about a Mitch joke at least once every single day since he died.

The one that came to mind most recently:

'Here's a picture of me when I was younger.'
--EVERY picture of you is when you were younger!

posted by wats at 6:34 PM on March 30, 2015 [11 favorites]



I have probably thought about a Mitch joke at least once every single day since he died.

Me too. I miss him fiercely.
posted by zutalors! at 6:36 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


On a stoplight, green means go, and yellow means slow down, but on a banana it's exactly different. Green means "hold on," yellow means "go," and red means "where the fuck did you get this banana at?!"
posted by Navelgazer at 6:38 PM on March 30, 2015 [15 favorites]


Sorry for the convenience.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:41 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


Every McDonald's commercial ends the same way, right? "Prices and participation may vary." I wanna open a McDonald's and not participate in anything. I wanna be a stubborn McDonald's owner. Cheeseburgers? Nope. We got spaghetti... and blankets.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:41 PM on March 30, 2015 [42 favorites]


Mitch Hedberg was probably my single favorite comedian of my late teens and early twenties. I'd say he still is, but it's sort of heartwrenching to listen to his stuff now just because of the intense nostalgia, and because on multiple listens it becomes hard to miss the signs that he was clearly doing too many drugs for his own good. I think on Do You Believe In Gosh? he audibly has the coke-sniffs and it just breaks my heart.

Also, I had two notable experiences involving Mitch Hedberg. The first was that I was lucky enough to see him live when I was in high school. This was in NYC and if I recall correctly the second weekend after 9/11. He, pardon the expression, killed and I'll be damned if every single person in the audience that night didn't desperately needed a good, strong laugh and he was there and he did it and even took a request for a joke.

The second was that Mitch Hebderg recorded a number of Jimmy John's commercials in the early 2000s. A few nights (maybe weeks? definitely soon) after he died I was working the graveyard at Jimmy John's and his voice came on the radio at something like 2 AM to tell us about the delicious taste of Jimmy John's. It was so absurd I'd like to think a joke along those lines would've made it into his act one day.
posted by a manly man person who is male and masculine at 6:42 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


No stand up comic has made me laugh harder than Mitch Hedberg.
posted by riruro at 6:43 PM on March 30, 2015


I think of him every time I see an escalator.

"I like an escalator because an escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. There would never be an escalator temporarily out of order sign, only an escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience."

Also when I see food with fake grill marks.
posted by MikeMc at 6:43 PM on March 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


For my birthday one year, I got tickets to see Lewis Black and Dave Attell. The emcee was a little-known Mike Birbiglia, followed by a long-haired comic with a lazy deadpan delivery akin to Steven Wright. I had never heard his name before that night and never forgot it since. My sides hurt from laughing so hard at observational humor that went way beyond the usual "DMV/what's the deal with airplanes/Seinfeldian crap" and delved into the everyday with an electron microscope. "Waffles are pancakes with syrup traps?" Killer. "We pulled into your town with a semi truck of equipment, took out this stool and microphone and said 'okay, now we're ready!'", rolling. Killed so hard, Black and Attell could do nothing but kill in turn.

Even when he fucked up a joke, he could still have the audience eating from the palm of his hand. That's craft.

Ten years later, there's still a Mitch-shaped hole.

.
posted by dr_dank at 6:44 PM on March 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'll meet you when that guy is eating a hamburger.

.
posted by duffell at 6:44 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't have a microwave oven, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.

"I don't have a girlfriend, but I do know a woman who'd be really mad if she heard me say that."
posted by neat graffitist at 6:45 PM on March 30, 2015 [22 favorites]


Still my favorite:

“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.”
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:46 PM on March 30, 2015 [41 favorites]


Rice is still great for when you're hungry and you want a million of something.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:48 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I’m an ice sculptor. Last night I made a cube.
posted by sevenofspades at 6:49 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Who can eat at a time like this? People are missing.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 6:49 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


"My friend said to me 'I think the weather's trippy.' I said 'No man, it's not the weather that's trippy, perhaps it is the way that we perceive it that is indeed trippy.'

Then I thought 'Man, I should have just said 'Yeah.'"

My life.
posted by palindromic at 6:56 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can't believe it has been ten years. I remember wishing, "please, oh please, let this be a cruel April Fools joke". He still remains my favorite comedian.

.
posted by Jeff Morris at 6:56 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dufresne, party of four?
posted by Renoroc at 6:57 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I never thought I'd live ten years longer than Mitch Hedberg. Now I'll be able to some day.
posted by sylvanshine at 6:58 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Hey man, every book is a children's book if the kid can read!"
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:58 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of the biggest robs of all time is that Mitch Hedberg wasn't around for twitter. He would have nailed it so hard that a lot of people probably wouldn't have even bothered.
posted by dogwalker at 6:58 PM on March 30, 2015 [88 favorites]


"Smokey the Bear is much more intense in person."

He forever changed the way we see bears and escalators. Like dogwalker, how I wish he'd been able to use Twitter to skyrocket his career.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:04 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I did not study my A A B B C C's.

God God Dammit Dammit.
posted by hearthpig at 7:11 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of the biggest robs of all time is that Mitch Hedberg wasn't around for twitter

It really is like Van Gogh dying *just* before the invention of canvas.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 7:23 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I saw Mitch live about year or so before he passed. It pains me to say that the only time I saw him he was obviously not in a good way and the crowd was annoying as all get out (shouting out joke requests like it was an AC/DC cover band show) but there were moments that you could catch him flash his fantastic grin and see him genuinely enjoy what he was doing. That's the Mitch I choose to remember and I'm incredibly glad I got to see it, even if he was already dimming at that point.

I'm still shocked it's already been ten years. Even though he wasn't a household name when he passed, I'm glad to see that his memory (and comedy) is still remembered fondly.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:23 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


My dad is a huge Bob Newhart fan and when my husband and I visited one Christmas, we put on Bob's comedy record. Several glasses (bottles) of wine later we decided to introduce my straight-laced, WASPy, conservative parents to Mitch Hedberg.

They loved him.

Turns out Newhart and Hedberg have the same kind of deadpan silliness that just kills it in my family.

.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:26 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I did not study my A A B B C C's.

God God Dammit Dammit.


Dammit dammit, this one comes into my head almost almost daily daily.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:37 PM on March 30, 2015


I'm like, come back! I want to hold one of you and feed you a leaf.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:39 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


One time I saw a wino eating grapes and said 'dude, you have to wait!'

.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:44 PM on March 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think Mitch Hedberg was originally gonna be a rock star. But on the first day of the job, there was just a microphone and a crowd of people and no instruments. Mitch is a laid back guy, so he said, "fuck it, cut 'em up"
posted by aydeejones at 7:44 PM on March 30, 2015 [34 favorites]


Turns out Newhart and Hedberg have the same kind of deadpan silliness that just kills it in my family.

I am old enough to remember Newhart's show but not his stand-up. My boss introduced me and I was quite amused. There are definitely similarities.

On "Mitch All Together" though, he's kind of messed up and laughs at his jokes a lot, and makes fun of some of his experimental bits for not being on the money. "That was a stupid joke." And there's an annoying hepcat bass line going on the whole time. Took a minute to grow on to me after seeing some of his more slickly-produced stuff visually, but I love that album nonetheless and it rekindled my interest in comedy albums vs. just happening to catch stand-up on TV.
posted by aydeejones at 7:49 PM on March 30, 2015


Also check out Dan Mintz on Spotify (full album!) and YouTube, etc, Mitch fans. Very good non-stop one-liners or tiny setups where the narrator is constantly changing in hilariously contradictory ways, just to make the jokes work. Somewhat comparable, definitely LOL material.
posted by aydeejones at 7:52 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have not slept for ten days...because that would be too long.

.
posted by ostranenie at 7:55 PM on March 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


Ufez Jones I saw Mitch live about year or so before he passed.

I read that in a totally Mitch kind of way: "Well yeah, he was live, he hadn't passed yet."

......okay, I'll get my coat.
posted by ashbury at 8:06 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


ostranenie, that one is my all-time favorite.
posted by kenko at 8:06 PM on March 30, 2015


They say that the recipe for Sprite is lemon and lime, but I tried to make it at home, there’s more to it than that. ‘Hey, you want some more homemade Sprite, man?’ . . . ‘Not until you figure out what the fuck else is in it!’

.
posted by graymouser at 8:07 PM on March 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Am I the only person who listens to him and the can only think/speak in Mitch cadence forever after? He's worse than a bad Southern accent like that.
posted by padraigin at 8:24 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just said every one of these quotes out loud because once you hear the joke once, that's only way you can ever say that line ever again. I've used the "Here, you throw this a-way" line when I was handing people actual garbage to throw away, and still used that delivery.

When I'm out on gigs in some hotel room in the middle of nowhere and can't fall asleep, I've got a playlist of all of Mitch's CDs because that cadence that made him so killer is also really great to relax and fall asleep to. I usually fall asleep before Strategic Grilling Locations is over, but this was the first time in a while I actually made it through to Mitch All Together. The weird part is that even though that was the first album of his I ever heard, listening to it back to back like that makes it weird.

The Albums were recorded years apart, but it didn't really sound like a comedian finally honing his craft. Then, because it was 2am in a silent hotel, I finally noticed those sniffles mentioned higher up. That disappointed me more than I thought possible.
posted by WeX Majors at 8:32 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


How can anybody eat at a time like this???
posted by St. Hubbins at 8:35 PM on March 30, 2015


It's the cutest infestation ever.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:56 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


How do you feel about frilly toothpicks?
posted by hwyengr at 8:58 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm for 'em!
posted by Cosine at 9:05 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


This club is formed. Spread the word on menus nationwide.
posted by hwyengr at 9:05 PM on March 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


I saw him at an Improv fairly shortly before he died, and he said that they didn't like him much because one time when he'd performed at a different Improv, they'd added an 'e' to the club name behind the stage.
posted by LionIndex at 9:09 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am also acutely aware of exactly how ROBBED OF CHOCOLATE I am every time I eat a Kit-Kat.
posted by wats at 9:36 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Strangers talk to me a lot, and I am always thinking END OF TRANSACTION. Every time.
posted by theredpen at 9:59 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the biggest robs of all time is that Mitch Hedberg wasn't around for twitter

I dunno. Mitch managed to do Weird Twitter better than any of today's weird tweeters without the benefit of Twitter having been invented yet.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:45 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I'm against picketing but I don't know how to show it."
posted by mmoncur at 10:57 PM on March 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


"You sound older." Ah, Mitch, if only you did.

.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:04 AM on March 31, 2015


. + 10
posted by key_of_z at 12:48 AM on March 31, 2015


God bless him.

Wait...god bless him? I'm not the kind of person who says "god bless him...that's not my styyyyyle.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:14 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


(incidentally, Mitch's joke about his neighbor pounding on his wall (seen here) was confirmed years later by the neighbor in question, comedian Nick DiPaolo.)
posted by ShutterBun at 1:22 AM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Depending on your viewpoint, Demetri Martin is either a worthy successor or a shameless ripoff.
posted by kersplunk at 2:19 AM on March 31, 2015


THAT TREE IS FAR AWAY
posted by emd3737 at 3:39 AM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine said that Mitch is a master of the craft because it is impossible to repeat his jokes without adopting his delivery.
posted by Turkey Glue at 3:58 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do I miss Mitch? All-encompassingly.

.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:49 AM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


"I want to hang a map of the world in my house. Then I’m gonna put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to. But first, I’m gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won’t fall down."
posted by oulipian at 5:09 AM on March 31, 2015 [31 favorites]


My teeth got so much tarter, I don't have to dip my fishsticks in SHIT.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 5:14 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:59 AM on March 31, 2015


this comedy style seems like one of those things where it is much harder to do than he made it look
posted by thelonius at 6:12 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


"When in my life have I ever had to verify that I have purchased a donut?"
posted by jonp72 at 6:54 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I just went to the dentist and, when I woke up, I had these two holes in my neck. That's the last time I see Dr. Acula again."
posted by jonp72 at 6:55 AM on March 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I had a paper route as a kid. I had to go to two hundred houses... Or two dumpsters!"
posted by dr_dank at 7:03 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's worse than a bad Southern accent like that

"I'm in the S'th, and I want some s'p!"
posted by Lucinda at 7:12 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was blessed to get to opportunity to see Mitch Hedberg in Austin when when he was on tour with Stephen Lynch about 6 months before he died. I do remember people being obnoxious and calling out jokes but he handled them really well. I had only seen his TV specials and didnt have any of his albums but he was sooo funny when I found out he was coming to town I knew I had to see him.

Cut to 6 months later when I open the paper and am totally shocked. I had not known about his history of drug use but its not uncommon in the entertainment world. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to have seen live in concert one of the funniest people ever.

.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:10 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I saw this door with a sign on it that said "this door must remain closed at all times". No, you're thinking of a wall
posted by Hoopo at 8:55 AM on March 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


I still cannot get over the fact ten years has passed. I remember hearing about his passing on the Howard Stern Show as if it were yesterday. I always felt Helberg took Steve Wright's surreal observational humor to the next level.
posted by prthatrocks at 9:17 AM on March 31, 2015


Demetri Martin is either a worthy successor or a shameless ripoff.

Hannibal Buress does some hedbergian material on My Name is Hannibal. I lean when I text, cause when I lean when I text, all my messages come out in italics. He related a story about Mitch on this AMA :
Mitch played Zanies in Chicago in 2005. I was brand new and I went up to his green room and asked for a spot. (This was really obnoxious but I was hungry and ambitious.) The next night he let and 3-4 other Chicago comedians that he never met perform on a sold out show of his fans. That's unheard of. Comedians just don't do that type of shit. I won't do that shit now. I can be in the greatest mood ever and I won't let a stranger on my show. It went well and he let me open for him at the Zanies in Vernon Hills that weekend. They paid me $60 or something for a 5 minute spot which was cool as fuck. He passed away a month or two after that and I was bummed about it. I used to hang at Zanies all the time after that and watch whatever headliner would be on that week. One week the middle act didn't show up and I was there so they put me up because they saw me crush it opening for Mitch. I went on and it went well and the club started booking me regularly. I started working my home club because he put me on.
posted by Lorin at 9:42 AM on March 31, 2015 [13 favorites]


Previously...
posted by zenon at 10:26 AM on March 31, 2015


"You got a lot of nerve!"

"You got a lot of...cranial accessories."
posted by ostranenie at 12:25 PM on March 31, 2015


I got to see Mitch perform in a tiny club in Seattle, right around the time he had appeared on That 70's Show. Still one of the best shows I have ever seen... I don't think anyone has ever made me laugh that hard, before or since. Tig Notaro got me close, but she couldn't make me laugh so hard that I made unhealthy bird noises, like Mitch did.
posted by palomar at 2:01 PM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


manly man mentioned Jimmy John's commercials voiced by Mitch Hedberg. I just found a six-minute recording of various pitches and it's classic Mitch:
https://soundcloud.com/laughspin/mitch-hedberg-jimmy-johns

I don't know if any of this is actually written by Mitch, but his delivery is spec-tac-u-lar.
posted by cyberscythe at 5:39 PM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Those Jimmy John's spots are delightful and made me laugh. Thank you for finding them and sharing.
posted by dogwalker at 6:16 PM on March 31, 2015


I like Mitch Hedberg except when I am with four or more people.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:29 AM on April 2, 2015


About ten years ago I played a Mitch album while my mom and I were unpacking my stuff after a move. I didn't think she was even paying attention, but to this day when she doesn't feel like repeating herself, she still says, "Nothing. That tree is far away." She doesn't care if people look at her like she's crazy. This is why my mom rocks.
posted by JLovebomb at 10:52 AM on April 5, 2015


At restaurants when they ask for a name I frequently say Dufresne.
posted by Moxx of Balhoon at 5:22 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, any time Wylie Dufresne comes on Top Chef, I immediately turn to my husband and say, "WHO CAN EAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS????"
posted by St. Hubbins at 11:56 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


St. Hubbins: "Yeah, any time Wylie Dufresne comes on Top Chef, I immediately turn to my husband and say, "WHO CAN EAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS????""

But in that case, the Dufresnes aren't missing!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:12 PM on April 7, 2015


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