I miss Mitch Hedberg.
I don’t know how his brain worked (or didn’t) to make so many unique oddball thoughts come out of it, but I’m glad I got to see him live a couple of times. I’m also happy that there are a few recordings available for posterity so that people will always have the chance to get a little bit of Hedberg magic in their ears.
Next year will be the fifth anniversary of his death from a heart attack at 37. It still seems like yesterday. Would he have been able to keep up the pace had he lived to a ripe old age? Would he even have wanted to? We’ll never know. Like the old adage, he left us wanting more.
His stoner demeanor and seemingly random thoughts were really a combination of brilliant writing and nervousness. His cadence and delivery were unique, and once you got into the flow he had you. Mitch made it look effortless but there was a lot of work behind the act, and although he skyrocketed once in the public eye he didn’t just happen overnight.
I imagine that a artist wants their work to live on. Although Hedberg’s body of work was cut short, people will be quoting his one-liners for a long, long time. Here are ten of my favorite Hedberg bits:
*Alcoholism is a disease, but it’s the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupus. One of those two doesn’t sound right.
*Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.
*I tried to walk into a Target but I missed. I think the entrance at Target should have people splattered all over it.
*I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.
*An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an “Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order” sign, just “Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”
*I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut… I don’t need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don’t need to bring ink and paper into this.
*I bought a house. It’s a two bedroom house, but I think it’s up to me how many bedrooms there are. Don’t you? “Fuck you, real estate lady, this bedroom has an oven in it!”
*My friend was walking down the street and he said, “I hear music.” As if there is any other way of taking it in. I tried to taste it, but it did not work.
*On a traffic light, green means go and yellow means yield, but on a banana it’s just the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead, and red means where the fuck did you get that banana?
Old interview from Shecky Magazine that proves Mitch was a smart guy.
EW Article that ran after his death.
Hedburgh – excellent Mitch tribute site.
Montreal Just For Laughs 2004