Mitch Hedberg said it best:
“I don’t own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know. All the time. If someone wants to get a hold of me, they just say, ‘Mitch,’ and I say ‘What?’ as I turn my head slightly.”
That had me laughing out loud for five minutes yesterday. I came across that quote in the online version of Editor and Publisher.
Who is Mitch Hedberg? Well, I didn’t know either. I did some research and discovered he was a stand-up comedian known for his deadpan one-liners. I love deadpan humor. Too bad I missed him; I must have been watching all the wrong channels.
During my Hedberg research, I was laughing my head off. Here are some other gems:
- “I had an apartment and I had a neighbor, and whenever he would knock on my wall, I knew he wanted me to turn my music down, and that made me angry ‘cause I like loud music . . . So when he knocked on the wall, I’d mess with his head. I’d say, ‘Go around! I cannot open the wall! I don’t know if you have a door on your side, but over here there’s nothin’. It’s just flat.”
- “Rice is really great if you’re really hungry and want to eat at least 2,000 of something.”
- “I think Bigfoot is blurry. That’s the problem. It’s not the photographer’s fault. Bigfoot is blurry and that’s extra scary to me. There’s a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run! He’s fuzzy! Get out here!”
- “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.”
There was an awful truth lurking in that one-liner. The St. Paul-born Hedberg died of a drug overdose at the age of 37 on April 1, 2005. Many fans at first were sure at first it was an April Fool’s joke – the kind of joke Hedberg would play.
Like many stand-up comics, he suffered from stage fright. Also, like so many comedians, he often wove dark observations into his comedic spiels. The great Carol Burnett once said “Comedy is tragedy – plus time.”
Here are some more that had me laughing:
- “An escalator can never break. It only becomes stairs.”
- “When I was a boy, I laid in my twin-size bed and wondered where my brother was.”
- “I had a parrot. The parrot talked, but it did not say, ‘I’m hungry.’ So it died.”
- “If you’re watchin’ a parade, make sure you stand in one spot. Don’t follow it; it never changes. And if the parade is boring, run in the opposite direction. You will fast-forward the parade.”
- “The Kit-Kat candy bar has the name ‘Kit-Kat’ imprinted into the chocolate. That robs you of chocolate. It is a clever chocolate-saving technique. I go down to the factory. ‘You owe me some letters!’ ”
- “My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.”
- “One time, this guy handed me a picture of him. He said, ‘Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.’ Every picture is of you when you were younger. I said, ‘Here’s a picture of me when I’m older.’ He said, ‘You #$&&*! How’d you pull that off? Lemme see that camera. What’s it look like?’ ”
- “I was walking down the street with my friend, and he said, ‘I hear music’ as if there is any other way you can take it in. I said, ‘You’re not special; that’s how I receive it, too. I tried to taste it but it didn’t work.’ ”
- “I think Pringles’ original intention was to make golf balls. But on the day the rubber was supposed to show up, a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company so they said, ‘Oh, well, cut ‘em up.’ ”
- I hope next time I move I get a real easy phone number, something real easy to remember. Something like 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 . . . And then people would say, ‘Mitch, how do I get a hold of you?’ And I’d say, ‘Just press 2 for awhile and when I answer, you’ll know you’ve pressed 2 enough.’ ”
Hey, Mitch, wherever you are, sorry I missed you. Thanks for the laughs.