Its a strange fact of life that the funniest, more creative people are sometimes the most tortured mentally and have such conflict and unhappiness in their lives. For all the comics out there, to me, the most original, cerebral and unique was the late Mitch Hedberg, who died of a drug overdose in 2005.
He started his career in Florida in ’89 and I was lucky enough to see him perform a few times in the ’90’s in person. He was a very engaging performer who really connected and interacted with the audience live. I was very happy to see his success nationally, and caught him on Letterman a few times. I think Dave really liked him because he was on LateNight a dozen times or so. Letterman’s a great judge of comedy, and any comedian who impresses him is probably a very good comedian indeed.
Hedberg was slightly reminiscent of the humor of Steven Wright, in that he had a very unique, laid back delivery that was part of his appeal, and his non-sequitors, absurdism, slightly askew observational comedy. He was a thinking man’s comedian.
I’m so very disgusted with the ‘ghetto humor’ of people like Dave Chapelle (the most over-rated crack addict in history, even over Bobby Brown or Whitney Huston), or the obscenity for its own sake toilet humor of movie maker Judd Apatow and others. Its humor for morons. Its like 3rd graders laughing uproariously over poop jokes or saying a ‘bad word’. Like the dumbing down of popular music, the dumbing down of popular comedy marks the intrinsic lameness of this generation’s (and the 90’s) entertainers.
Comedians like Carlin, Wright, Hedberg, Richard Jeni, etc. are very rare today. Even those who relied on slapstick or absurdity, like Steve Martin, were rooted in a very intelligent frame of reference.
Part of the reason I enjoyed Mitch Hedberg so much is because he was so much better than so many of his peers.
Luckily, his humor lives on in video. Check him out on YouTube, and enjoy some really original wit and humor.
An appearance on Dr. Katz, a great showcase for some really fantastic comedians. This is a pretty good example of some of his best stuff.