Horrible news today. Mitch Hedberg has passed away. Many of you probably have no idea who Mitch Hedberg is, so I’ll tell you. He was a comic genius. And I don’t say that lightly.
I first saw Mitch perform on a late night Comedy Central one-man stand-up show. He was so funny that I told myself to remember his name. One of his jokes had me laughing so hard that I had no choice but to memorize it as well. Fast-forward two or three years and MR and I are in Washington D.C. walking past the Improv and I see that Mitch Hedberg is performing that weekend! I immediately wet myself and set upon convincing MR that we must, at all costs, make it to the show to see Mitch live. My interest, of course, unfailingly means that MR must dash to the nearest phone booth to assume his alter-ego Uncle Fuddyduddy. He starts pissing and moaning about how going to the show will throw our itinerary/spreadsheet off by a few hours. I tell him that he and his money belt can count me out of anything on the agenda anyway as I will go to the show with or without him. With the gauntlet having been thrown down, MR concedes to go to the show but promises “on the record” that I will endure nothing but elbows in the sternum for the rest of the trip if Mitch Hedberg doesn’t deliver.
We sat in the front row of the comedy club at a table with a lone Mitch fan from the Baltimore area. After the three of us suffered through some talentless openers (and I endured MR’s hackneyed routine of blaming me for their incompetence), Mitch took to the stage. He blazed through an hour of one-liners, quirky observational humor, and a half-dozen whisky sours. When he’s on stage, Mitch hides behind sunglasses, never looks up at the audience, but instead times every joke off the level of laughter in the audience. He is the only comedian I’ve ever seen that you had to see in person to really get the joke. His voice, his delivery, his absurdity completely overtook me and I laughed so hard at things I never could have thought up. I became a true Mitch Hedberg fan that night, but even more shocking, so did MR.
I’ve since had the pleasure of seeing Mitch perform three other times. I could hear the same jokes and laugh just as hard. That is an unheard of rarity for me. But what made me an even bigger fan was that I could take anyone to see Mitch and I knew they would laugh themselves hoarse. His sense of humor was completely unique but didn’t rely on shocking, offending, or belittling anyone or anything. He took comedy to it’s most basic and genuine level. I honor that and aspire to it.
So, to you Mitch, I say thank you. I wish I’d been able to tell you this stuff in person one day. But maybe somebody will read this and search out your humor and be inspired like I was.
I’ll leave you with a few of the many hilarious jokes written by Mitch Hedberg:
I was in Downtown Boise, Idaho, and I saw a duck, and I knew the duck was lost, ‘cuz ducks ain’t s’posed to be downtown. There’s nothin’ for ’em there. So I went to a Subway sandwich shop, I said, “Let me have a bun.” But she wouldn’t sell me just the bun, she said that I had to have something on it. She told me it’s against regulations for Subway to sell just the bun. I guess the two halves ain’t supposed to touch. So I said, “Alright, well, put some lettuce on it,” which she did. She said, “That’ll be $1.75.” I said, “It’s for a duck.” And they said, “Alright, well, that is free.” See, I did not know that. Ducks eat for free at Subway! Had I known that, I would have ordered a much larger sandwich. “Let me have the Steak Fajita Sub – but don’t bother ringing it up, it’s for a duck!
I had a bag of Fritos, they were Texas grilled Fritos. These Fritos had grill marks on them. Hell yeah, reminds me of summer time, when we used to fire up the barbeque and throw down some Fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, better flip that Frito, dad, you know how I like mine.
The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how much I play, I’ll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They’re fucking relentless.