Sadly, news of comedian Mitch Hedberg's death last night have been confirmed by Comedy Central's bio . Rumors of a heroin overdose are unsubstantiated, but based on seeing a show last year (read my review here,) I am not surprised.
Here's the text of the Comedy Central release:
Tragically, Mitch Hedberg passed away this week. Mitch was a beloved member of the Comedy Central family, and we join fans in our sadness. He will be missed.
Born and raised in the St. Paul area, Mitch Hedberg decided to start his own comedy career in South Florida. Not so much for the comedy scene, but for the sun. His landlord would drive him up and down the coast from club to club in his pick-up truck where Mitch would lie down in the back to avoid any of the negative conversations his landlord would try to have with him.
Mitch developed his style in Florida and decided to try it out on different audiences. He moved to Seattle and toured throughout the Pacific Northwest honing his act in front of the new audiences. While in Los Angeles, Mitch booked his first television appearance on MTV's "Comikaze" by walking into the MTV offices and personally pitching himself to the talent coordinator. Many cable shows followed including A&E's "Comedy on the Road", Comedy Central's "Comedy Product", and NBC's "Comedy Showcase" hosted by Louie Anderson.
In 1996, Mitch got his break with an invitation to perform at the prestigious Just for Laughs Montreal International Comedy Festival. His performances secured him a deal with a studio and a spot on "The Late Show with David Letterman." Letterman enjoyed the set so much that he actually quoted one of Mitch's bits later in the show.
With the money from his development deal, Mitch wrote, directed and stars in his own independent feature called "Los Enchiladas!" which premiered at Sundance. His film is a comedy about a drifter who gets a job at a Mexican chain restaurant in middle America, the relationships between the restaurant employees, and the deterioration of the business' hierarchy over a 24-hour period. While editing the film in Seattle, Mitch entered the 1997 Seattle Comedy Competition and won the grand prize of three thousand dollars. He immediately handed the check over to his editor and finished the film.