"I'm tired of following my dreams! I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up with them later."
— Mitch Hedberg
A breakout comedian who used a lot of one-liners, like Steven Wright
with a more laid back delivery. He was known for his monotone voice and rose-colored aviator glasses
. He specialized in wordplay, non sequiturs and observational comedy. He made a few appearances on a handful of TV shows and did some voice work for Home Movies
Hedberg was an admitted drug user, and occasionally made jokes about his drug use in his act. These jokes became Funny Aneurysm Moments
when Hedberg died in 2005
, supposedly by overdosing on heroin and cocaine. What makes it sadder is that this was before doing his first HBO special
. This makes him the third comedian in a row to die in the middle of a decade in their thirties. Andy Kaufman died of cancer in the 1980s and Bill Hicks died from the same in the 1990s. Time will only tell if this trend will follow.
- Strategic Grill Locations (1999)
- Mitch All Together (2003)
- Do You Believe in Gosh? (recorded in 2005, released posthumously in 2008)
- Annoying Laugh: During one performance, Mitch singles out an audience member with a distinctive laugh.
"The only problem with having a distinctive laugh is that I know exactly when you're not laughing. 'Oh! Distinctive Laugh doesn't think that joke was funny!' "
- Bears Are Bad News:
- Mitch feels that Smokey the Bear should not be the forest fire prevention mascot because bears are too scary. He prefers
a fake character he made up England's mascot Smacky the Frog.
- He and some friends were dropping acid in the woods to avoid the cops, but ran into a bear, "which was even more of a buzzkill." A friend remarked "Smokey is way more intense in person."
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Mitch thinks the reason photographs of Bigfoot are always blurry is because Bigfoot IS blurry.
"There's a large, out-of-focus monster running around the countryside. That's extra scary to me. Run, he's fuzzy!"
- Brick Joke: Sort of a meta-example. On one of his albums, Mitch makes a joke that falls flat. In response to the tepid laughter, Mitch promises to fix that joke by taking out all of the words and putting in new ones. Much later in his set, when a completely different joke gets a lot of laughter, he explains that this was the fixed joke from earlier.
- Brilliant but Lazy
"Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny."
- Call Back: The audience at his Comedy Central Presents special seem to have been primarily made up of people that were unfamiliar with Mitch's act. Because of this, it took a while for the audience to warm up to him and laugh in understanding of his material. By the end, the crowd was more engaged, so Mitch continued to tell jokes for editing reasons just thinking of whatever jokes came to mind.
"I like Kit-Kat, unless I'm with four or more people."
- Calling Shotgun: "Last time I called shotgun we'd rented a limo, so I fucked up."
- Can't You Read the Sign?: This is his response when a child tells him a "Knock Knock" Joke while Mitch is wearing a Do Not Disturb sign.
- Cloud Cuckoolander
- Cluster F-Bomb
- Colbert Bump: The infamous "Dunkin Donuts Rant" video led to a minor Youtube bump of Hedberg's routines, due to his bit on doughnuts and its odd relevance to the situation:
"I don't need a receipt for a doughnut. I'll just give you the money, and you give me the doughnut. End of transaction! We don't need to bring ink and paper into this! I can't imagine a scenario where I'd have to prove that I bought a doughnut. Some skeptical friend...'Don't even act like I didn't buy that doughnut! I've got the documentation right here! Oh, wait, it's back home, in the file. Under d...for doughnut.'"
- Comically Missing the Point
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Banana bread pastrami cottage cheese sandwich
- Dagwood Sandwich: He sees sandwiches from New York delis as this.
"It's like a cow with a cracker on either side... 'Whatcha gonna have?' A pastrami sandwich. 'Would you like anything with that?' Yeah, a loaf of bread and some other people."
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dissimile: "With a stop light, green means 'Go' and yellow means 'Slow down'. With a banana, however, it is quite the opposite. Yellow means 'Go', green means 'Whoa, hold on'... and red means 'Where the fuck did you get that banana from?!'"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "I'd like to see a forklift lift a crate of forks. It'd be so damn literal! You are using that for its exact purpose! That machine's been misunderstood for years."
- Food: He just loves to joke about food. Itís been said that he would walk around the grocery store to get inspiration for new jokes. When introduced as having appeared on a popular late night talk show, Mitch responded, "... but I think more people have seen me at the store. That should be my introduction."
- Four Equal Payments of: "They say this product is available for four easy payments. I'd like to see one with three easy payments and one fucking complicated payment... We're not telling you which one, but one of these payments is going to be a bitch. The mailman will get shot to death, the envelope will not seal, and the stamp will be in the wrong denomination. Good luck, fucker!"
- "That last payment must be made in Wampum!"
- Fridge Brilliance/Fridge Logic: Invoked in several of his routines. A lot of his humor relied on pointing it out.
Advil has a candy coating; it's delicious. And it says on the package, "Do not take more than two a day." Well, then, don't put a candy coating around it! I can't help myself!
I saw a commercial for a piece of technology which said "now you can water your hard-to-reach plants." Now who would make their plants hard to reach? That seems so very mean. I know you need water, but I'm gonna make you hard to reach! I will throw water at you. Hopefully someone will invent a product before you shrivel and die. Think like a cactus!
I was standing in the lobby of this hotel just minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "Sir, could you please move? You're blocking the fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't going to run. If you are flammable and have legs, you are never "blocking" a fire exit. Unless you're a table.
I bought a two-bedroom house. But it's up to me how many bedrooms there are, ain't it? Fuck you, real-estate lady, this bedroom has an oven in it! This bedroom has a lot of people sitting around watching TV. This bedroom is a/k/a the hallway... This bedroom's over in that guy's house! Sir, are you aware you have one of my bedrooms? Don't decorate it!
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: "Donít bring the cake-eater over here anymore. He smells like flour. Did you notice how his eyes widened when he found out your birthday was fast approaching?"
- If I Had a Nickel: Invoked: "'That's dumb'...if I had a nickel for every time I said that, I'd be making money in a very unusual way!"
- Left It In: On one CD, after a particular joke falls flat, he jokes about adding the sound of audience laughter to compensate.
"All right ... that joke is going to be good because I'm going to take all the words out and add new words. That joke will be fixed."
- Limited Social Circle: "I don't have a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know all the time. Then if someone needs to get in touch with me, they just say 'Mitch!', and I say 'What?' and turn my head slightly."
- Loophole Abuse:
"I went to a Subway sandwich shop, and I said, 'Let me have a bun,' but she wouldn't sell me just a bun. She said it had to have something on it.
She told me it's against regulations for Subway to sell just a bun; I guess the two halves ain't supposed to touch. So, I said, 'Alright, put some lettuce on it,' which they did. They said, 'That'll be $1.75.' I said, 'It's for a duck.' They said, 'Alright, well then it's free.' See, I did not know that ducks eat for free at Subway. Had I known that, I would've ordered a much larger sandwich. 'Lemme have the steak fajita sandwich, but don't bother ringing it up, it's for a duck! There are six ducks out there, and they all want Sun Chips!'"
- No, Except Yes: "My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said, 'No. But I want a regular banana later, so... yeah.'"
- Not Available In Stores: Originally, his first CD. Unless he brought it in the store and left it there.
"'Sir, you forgot this.' No, I did not. That is for sale. Please alphabetize it."
- One Steve Limit / Psmith Psyndrome: Averted. Mitch Hedberg had two separate relationships with a girl named Lynn. Well, technically, one Lyn and one Lynn.
"Sometimes I'll fuck up and call my new girlfriend by my old girlfriend's name. She can tell because I don't say the 'nn' long enough."
- Overly Long Gag: "I was at a restaurant, I ordered a chicken sandwich, but I don't think the waitress understood me cause she said, 'how would you like your eggs?' So I tried to answer her anyhow. I said, 'Incubated.'" (Beat) " 'And then raised. And then beheaded. And then plucked. And then cut up. And then put onto a grill. And then put onto a bun. Damn, it's gonna take a while.' " (Beat) "Scrambled."
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: It was up to Mitch how many bedrooms his house actually had, even if one of them was in that guy's house.note
- Self-Deprecation: If a joke didn't work, Mitch was always the first person to point it out. For instance, after one joke which didn't make any sense, he had barely finished telling the joke when he said "All right, that joke was ridiculous!"
- Subverted on one occasion when the audience underreacted to a joke Mitch was actually fond of. "That joke was better than you people are giving it credit for."
- Shrinking Violet: He was extremely shy in real life and his famous sunglasses were used to help him deal with his intense stage fright.
- So Unfunny It's Funny: Mitch was a notoriously casual performer, mixing in half-finished and unfunny jokes right beside legitimately brilliant and hilarious one-liners. The juxtaposition made the bad ones even funnier.
"I have a sweet tooth. [scattered laughter] I think I messed something up with that last joke. I apologize."
- Stoners Are Funny
- Tempting Fate: Played with when discussing playing golf, and hitting a guy with a drive. "You're supposed to yell out 'Fore!', but I was too busy mumbling, 'There ain't no way that's gonna hit him...'"
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: "The hotel I'm staying in doesn't have a thirteenth floor because of superstition. But people on the fourteenth floor — you know what floor you're really on. What room are you in? '1401.' No you're not! Jump out the window, and you will die earlier!"
- "If 13 is unlucky, then so should the letter "B" be, 'cuz "B" looks like a scrunched-together 13. 'Hi, what's your name?' 'Bob.' 'Get the fuck away!'"
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story
"Hey man, you know that story about that woman that drove her and her kids into a river?"
"Well, it inspired me to write a story about a gorilla."
- Verbal Tic: in his first CD, he had a tendency to say "All right..." after jokes. He didn't do it as much in later shows.
- It did carry over a bit when he did smaller gigs. Heck, even his wife had the tic when she toured with him as his warm-up act.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: "I once bumped into a guy; he had on a hat, a nose ring, an eyebrow ring, a goatee, a tongue ring, and 3 earrings. He said, 'Hey, man, you have a lot of nerve!' And then I said 'Hey, man, you have a lot of ... cranial accessories. [laughter] You guys are a smart crowd. When I do the dumber crowds, I have to say, 'Hey, man, you have a lot of shit on your head.'"
- X Meets Y: Foosball: soccer meets shish kabobs.