Mitch Hedberg, a rising star of the stand-up comedy scene, died on Wednesday, March 30 of a heart attack in his hotel room in New Jersey. He was only 37 years old.
His heart attack was most likely due to years of drug abuse.It was no secret that he had drug and alcohol problems. He admitted as much in his standup act, “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.”
He was yet another great comedian who subscribed to the “live hard, die young” philosophy, putting him in the both enviable and rueful company of people like Chris Farley and John Belushi.
Funny one-liners were what gave Hedberg the cult following that he had. The man could take the everyday mundane details of life that you and I take for granted, and force us to laugh at them. “I think pickles are cucumbers who sold out.”
Hedberg had a comedy style that was unique to him. He would stand on the stage and just rattle off his assortment of jokes, hardly ever bothering to open his eyes, although that was hard to tell through his thick dark sunglasses that he rarely went without.
Even with his eyes closed, Hedberg had a reputation of connecting with an audience. After catching Hedberg’s act for the first time, George Carlin commented to someone sitting nearby, “That blind guy is funny.”
In addition to his stand-up, Hedberg also did some acting. You might recognize him as the Eagles’ road manager in Almost Famous. He also wrote, directed, and starred in his own Independent feature, Los Enchiladas.
Hedberg had a bizarre, wonderful way of making people laugh, and the world will sorely miss his unique perspective.
Here are some of Mitch Hedberg’s memorable quotes:
•“I highlighted my hair, because I felt that some strands were more important than others.”
•“I haven’t slept for 10 days, because that would be too long.”
•“I opened up my yogurt and the cap said, ‘please try again.’ They were having a contest that I was unaware of. I thought that maybe they were just trying to reassure me, ‘Come on Mitch, you can do it. An inspirational message from your friends at Yoplait, fruit on the bottom, hope on top.’”
•“No matter how good I become at tennis, I will never be as good as the wall. I played a wall once. They are relentless.”
•“A friend of mine once said, ‘You know what I like? Mashed potatoes.’ I said ‘Dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you are going to quiz me, you must put a pause in there.”