Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Untold Truth Of Comedian Mitch Hedberg

Mitch Hedberg was one of the greatest comedians
of all time. He might not be a household name like George
Carlin or Louis C.K., but he’ll always be remembered for his signature style and one-of-a-kind
delivery. “I bought a two-bedroom house, but it’s up
to me how many bedrooms there are though, isn’t it? This bedroom has an oven in it!” Unfortunately, before he could truly break
through and claim the fame he deserved, Hedberg died of a drug overdose in 2005. Although his time here was sadly cut short,
let’s take a look at the life of the amazing Mitch Hedberg. Minnesota Nice When you think of Mitch Hedberg’s laidback,
west coast stoner vibe, you might be surprised to learn that he actually came from the Midwest
— Saint Paul, Minnesota, to be exact. Despite the fact that middle America is generally
a pretty conservative region, Hedberg never really tried to hide his liberal drug use. “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too!” It was early in his life in Minnesota that
he and his family discovered that he had a heart defect. His mother claimed his condition often caused
him anxiety. Although the coroner’s report ruled that Hedberg
died of a drug overdose, it’s possible that his heart condition may have contributed to
his untimely death. The acting bug Hedberg got his first big break on the Late
Show with David Letterman. This led to an appearance at the 1998 Just
for Laughs festival, where he really made an impression. Fox jumped on the Hedberg bandwagon and signed
him to a $500,000 development deal to try to come up with a TV show. Unfortunately, Fox and Hedberg never found
a project that worked, so he was dropped from his deal. But the next year he went on to write and
star in his own movie: Los Enchiladas!, a film about workers at a Mexican restaurant
in Minnesota. Jay Chandrasekhar of Super Troopers edited
the film and said on a podcast that Hedberg was great, but…kind of hard to work with
— because he and his co-star would get too high to remember their lines. “By take four, they’re kinda looking at each
other. They’re being recorded, right? By take six the two of them are literally
just standing there looking at each other.” The film premiered at Sundance in 1999, but
that was about the end of it. Los Enchiladas! was never released to DVD,
and it’s only been shown a handful of times since its premiere. When his movie failed to gain any interest,
Hedberg’s acting career kind of fell apart as well. After being cast as a stoner on That ’70s
Show, he made a brief appearance in the film Almost Famous and later took a small role
in Lords of Dogtown before his death in 2005. Comedy Central blow-out Mitch Hedberg’s first Comedy Central Presents
special was a big deal, but he struggled to win over the audience. His material was just too different from what
they were used to at the time. “I don’t have a girlfriend, I just know a
girl who would get really mad if she heard me say that.” The edited version of the special makes it
look like Hedberg nailed the set, but the unedited version is totally different. At one point, he just sits down on stage,
looking defeated, but keeps going. In the end, he won the crowd over, but it
was hard work. “And Pringles is a laid back company, they
said f— it, cut ’em up!” A helping hand Even though his Comedy Central special was
disappointing, Hedberg still had plenty of success on the road. TIME magazine even went so far as to call
him “the next Seinfeld.” But even in the midst of his growing fame,
he never forgot the underdogs. When Mike Birbiglia was still early in his
career, Hedberg went out of his way to help the new comedian out. Hedberg performed at Birbiglia’s CD release
party, but he didn’t just perform: he flew himself there and refused to be paid. And when Hannibal Buress was just starting
out, Hedberg did him a huge favor, too. When Hedberg played a weekend of sold-out
shows in Chicago, he let Buress and few other inexperienced comedians go on stage during
his set. As Buress put it, “That’s unheard of. Comedians just don’t do that.” But Hedberg was apparently happy to give any
stand-up a chance. That one act of kindness kick-started Buress’
career as a stand-up comedian. Never say no Toward the end of his life, Hedberg was constantly
touring. He’d do three shows a night, then go to the
next place and do another weekend of shows. His wife said Hedberg never passed on a job. He’d been rejected so many times, he felt
like he had to accept while he had the chance — or else all the rejections could start
coming back. Even at the peak of his fame, he never seemed
to feel like he’d been accepted, so he relentlessly traveled and performed until his last days. He had severe stage fright It’s strange to hear that a guy who made his
living performing in front of people was also terrified of doing so, but Mitch Hedberg was
just that. He told Time journalist Joel Stein during
a 1998 interview, “I don’t like to connect with the crowd. I find that if you look at people’s faces,
you see a disappointed face.” And so, the prototypical Hedberg performance
involved dark sunglasses, long hair draped over his eyes, and set-long staring contests
with the floor. He also, as the New York Times put it, “sometimes
closed his eyes as he performed.” Remember, the guy pretty much always wore
sunglasses. And he would still close his eyes to keep
the crowd away. He would criticize his own jokes onstage Every comedian messes up a joke on occasion. They’re human, too, after all. But for the most part, comedians tend to ignore
their flubs, moving right on to the next joke like nothing happened. Not Hedberg, though — he tended to ruminate
on his failed jokes, criticizing them onstage on a level that few comedians could ever get
away with. “Dogs are forever in the push-up position. Okay that joke is dumb, I’m aware of that.” Deadspin likened it to him breaking the fourth
wall, turning from comic to critic if a joke didn’t land. In an odd way, it made him more endearing
and relatable to his fans. It didn’t hurt that far more of his jokes
landed than crashed. He thought he could moderate his drug use Rather than kick his longtime drug habit,
Hedberg attempted to moderate it. In May 2003, the comedian was arrested for
heroin possession, which is often a wake-up call for people to stop what they’re doing,
or at least try to. Hedberg had other ideas. In a 2004 interview with Las Vegas Weekly,
Hedberg claimed he was going to do much less, so people couldn’t associate him with drugs
anymore. As he said, “You can’t do copious amounts
of drugs and stay alive … so not all drug use has tapered off … but I’ve learned just
to stay under the radar.” He thought the plan might help his career,
theorizing during that interview that since he got arrested for drugs once, any mistake
he makes in the future will get blamed on drugs. So, to make himself look better, he was planning
to do less drugs and be really quiet about the ones he did do. Sadly, the plan was doomed from the start. Arrest and hospitalization Hedberg’s drug problem was never a secret,
though most people didn’t realize how serious it was. Although he was open about smoking weed or
doing acid, he kept his heroin addiction out of his act. Then in 2002, he was arrested for heroin possession,
and soon after, he wound up in the hospital. His leg was so infected from injecting heroin
that the doctors almost amputated it. “It was 13 hours of surgery. They took muscle out of his back, and transferred
it to his leg.” Once he recovered, Hedberg returned to standup
— and sadly continued his drug use. In 2005, he died of a drug overdose. “This morning, we’ve learned a popular comic
from St. Paul has passed. Mitch Hedberg has died in a hotel room in
New Jersey on Wednesday. Though he had a tragic end, Hedberg was one
of the most interesting comedians of his time and will be remembered for his exceptional
delivery, timing, and creative one-liners. He might not have been the new Seinfeld, but
he never needed to be. He was Mitch Hedberg. “I like to take a toothpick, and throw it
into the forest, and say ‘you’re home!'” Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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100 thoughts on “The Untold Truth Of Comedian Mitch Hedberg

  1. Oh Mitch. You are a legend. Much respect and love. I hope that you are watching how many people are laughing at you now…Amazing…

  2. man…a buddy and i had tickets to the baltimore show that was was a couple days after Mitch passed. still pretty broken up about that

  3. Thanks for the laughs and trying so hard, Mitch. I've got severe stage fright too, and I sometimes play music in front of people. You inspire me.

  4. His jokes were for a thinking audience. He put something out there, and you filled in the punch line.

  5. a traffic light is the opposite of a banana: yellow means go, green means stop, and red means where the fuck did you get that banana.

  6. I'm not supposed to say the name of the hotel I'm staying at tonight, but there are two trees involved.

  7. Los enchiladas is on one of the free ruku channels it sucked but Mitch was a funny comedian though

  8. It's always the funniest people that die at the top of their game the guy was a super funny guy before he died and then you never heard of him anymore that's weird just kidding he was the best and he was just as well known as George Carlin and Bill Szymanski are you kidding me?

  9. I wasn't aware of the heart condition. But his death is a testament to just how powerful drug addiction is…it's awful

  10. I couldn’t even make it a minute in. LiBeRaL dRuG uSe is everything with you idiots liberal vs conservative

  11. One of the funniest comedians of all time? are you serious? Yeah, if you remember that there are like 7000 much funnier comedians ahead of him, then yeah, he's like 7001 funniest.

  12. What the hell is a sesame seed? I dont knkw we never gave them a chance. you put it on a bun and it will look spectacular.

  13. I graduated Highschool with Mitch. He was a year older than me. He graduated in 1986 and I was 1987. Every year the senior graduating class took votes on which senior to name "most likely to succeed, best dressed, best looking, biggest partier, etc. Well the senior class of 1986 voted Mitch "class clown" (he was full of jokes and funny). He was such a cool dude in highschool. I always remember he was sporting the mullett (business in the front, party in the back), except he had like a curly ''perned" mullett. Lol Mitch was good shit !

  14. This is not untold truth. this all is widely known. You should tell the truth in your videos and say something along the lines of, "We are making videos because we are just getting started. Some of this information may be well-known to some, while others may not be aware of the history of " et al … ". Also, "liberal drug use" … plenty of conservatives do drugs, too. But good work, keep going …

  15. "Acids my favorite drug , on acid I would see things like beams of light and I would hear things that sounded like car Horns"! Lol

  16. I bought some "tartar control toothpaste" ………..I still have tartar, but that shit is under control …!

  17. ❤️I had no idea Mitch Hedberg was dead. I became one of his fans around 2010. I loved his stand up. RIP Mitch Hedberg 2005💔

  18. I saw him at the Improv in Irvine years back. He was using new material and had index cards to read from and you can tell he had not rehearsed the material that much. I enjoyed it because it was new material as I was familiar with his other stuff. The crowd in Irvine is so uptight there were few laughs, mostly from my party who were big fans. It was uncomfortable at times to watch but he kept going, making fun of his flubbed jokes. His humor went over the heads of a lot of people. It was observational comedy but from an even different perspective and sometimes the audience was not able to relate. He also did voice overs for the cartoon Home Movies playing different characters. I was very shocked when I heard of his passing. It is such a shame as I think he would have caught on with people eventually and could have been more mainstream. We met him after the show and was a little shy and was uncomfortable when you gave him a complement. RIP Mitch.

  19. truly a comic before his time. its still a tragedy that hes gone. the world is a little less funny without mitch in it.

  20. The untold truth of Looper’s untold truth videos — there’s never any truth that hasn’t already been told.

  21. One of the greats, in my opinion. He would be a household name for the next 50 to 100 years if he had made it through his challenges.
    To the uninitiated, here's just a few of his best:

    -"I had a parrot. The parrot talked but it did not say 'I'm hungry' …so it died!"

    -"I was at my friend's house. He asked if I want a frozen banana. I said 'no' but then I remembered that I want a regular banana later, so… …yeah."

    -"Hey, if you wanna meet me after the show, I'll be… fuckin… …surprised!"

  22. "He might not be the new Seinfeld…" Um, what? Jerry is a great sitcom writer but take away his fame and he's a mediocre comedian. I'm tired of people acting like he's stand up Jesus. Without looking it up name some jokes Jerry told that were more than just kind of funny.

  23. Why is it on any comic thread, it's just people repeating jokes? We get it, you've memorized it. Now move on to spelling correctly.

  24. Mitch Hedberg type a guy buys a Harley Davidson motorcycle and replace the muffler for a quite one.

    Mitch Hedberg type a guy will lower the radio volume down in drive thru.

    Mitch Hedberg type a guy will eat rice so he can eat thousands of them.

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